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7/29/2014 8:41:00 AM
USFS: Managing fire near Chino Valley would produce benefits
Dozens of elk graze at the base of Sitgreaves Mountain Sunday as the 4,040-acre Sitgreaves Complex wildfire burns on the mountain. The Kaibab National Forest is managing the fire for its resource benefits.
Photo courtesy Joanna Dodder/the Daily Courier
Dozens of elk graze at the base of Sitgreaves Mountain Sunday as the 4,040-acre Sitgreaves Complex wildfire burns on the mountain. The Kaibab National Forest is managing the fire for its resource benefits.
Photo courtesy Joanna Dodder/the Daily Courier

Joanna Dodder Nellans
Special to the Review


PRESCOTT - Instead of extinguishing the Perkinsville wildfire east of Chino Valley, Prescott National Forest officials are considering managing it for its benefits.

Other wildfires that lightning sparked over the weekend on the Prescott National Forest are no longer burning.

Lightning ignited the Perkinsville fire Sunday evening in the piñon-juniper forest near Perkinsville Road about halfway between Chino Valley and the Verde River. It was approximately 30 acres in size by Monday.

It might go out on its own because of the high humidity levels, Prescott National Forest Fire Staff Officer Pete Gordon said Monday afternoon. If not, officials might allow it to continue to burn within set boundaries.

Firefighters conducted a burnout Monday to establish an anchor point near the intersection of Perkinsville Road and Forest Road 163, he said. No buildings or resources are at risk of being damaged by the fire, he said.

"That country could benefit from natural fire," he said. And there's no reason to spend the money and time to put it out if it's beneficial, he added.

The threat of large fires on most of the forest is gone with the arrival of the annual monsoon, Gordon said.

Officials on several other national forests in Arizona already are managing fires for their resource benefits. The largest is the 4,040-acre Sitgreaves Complex just north of Interstate 40 near Parks. Kaibab officials have identified a 19,600-acre area where they would allow the fire to spread. The fire ignited on July 13.

Lightning started at least three other fires on the Prescott National Forest since Friday.

The 60-acre Twin Peaks fire on the Castle Creek Wilderness Area ignited Friday and because of the dangerous storm outflow conditions, fire managers decided not to go after it that day. Rains arrived overnight and put out the flames.

The Blue Jacket wildfire ignited in a tree near Crown King Saturday, and Crown King Fire District firefighters put it out when it was just one-tenth of an acre.

The Golden Eagle fire started Saturday on the Ash Creek Ridge near Palace Station south of Prescott. A helicopter helped the Prescott Hotshots hold that one to 4-5 acres today, Gordon said.

After a relatively weak start to the monsoon in Prescott proper, heavy rain fell in the city Friday-Sunday and produced a preliminary rainfall total of 4.11 inches at the official Sundog measuring site on the northeast side of the city. Total preliminary rainfall for July at Sundog is 4.78 inches so far, easily surpassing the average of 2.87 inches.

Rain has washed out a portion of Senator Highway just north of Crown King. The dirt road connects Prescott to Crown King on the Prescott National Forest. The Forest Service has closed Senator Highway from Forest Trail 215 south to Forest Road 362 (Hooper Saddle).

The Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for the northwest quadrant of Arizona including the Yavapai County Mountains Monday.

Then it issued two small stream flood advisories Monday afternoon, for the Prescott region and then Prescott Valley, when 1-2 inches of rain fell in about an hour.

A 20-30 percent chance of thunderstorms continues today through Thursday.

Related Stories:
• Firefighters battle several wildland fires north of Chino Valley


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