Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

Park rangers raking pine needles

Saguaro Wildland Fire Module raking pine needles at Sunset Crater National Monument (NPS photo)

Fuels Reduction Work

Flagstaff Area Monuments, Arizona
Cohesive Strategy—Fire-Adapted Human Communities*

On February 14, 2011, 108 acres of Firewise and Wildland Urban Interface thinning was completed at Walnut Canyon National Monument. It was conducted around the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) / Mission 66 historic Walnut Canyon Visitor Center complex, picnic area, front country trails, maintenance shop, employee housing, water/wastewater facilities, and utility corridors. The project area is dominated by relatively open mixed ponderosa-pinyon-juniper stands with mixed age trees and includes trees in the 24+ inch diameter range, which are habitat to various birds of prey, including Mexican Spotted Owl.

forest view

Defensible space at Walnut Canyon National Monument (NPS photo)

The project was a collaborative effort between Grand Canyon National Park Fire Management staff, led by Dan Pearson, and Flagstaff Monument fire management staff, led by Charlie Strickfaden. This project was complicated by extensive above and below ground archeological resources which required mitigation and protection during the project. The contractor, Firestorm, Inc. dramatically reduced fuels loading, while cooperating heavily to retain minimal disturbance and fuels load on cultural areas. Due to the number and size of sensitive archaeological sites within the project area, extensive coordination and communication was required between the project archaeologists, the contractor, project inspectors, and the Contracting Officer's Representative (COR). Though it occurred in the middle of northern Arizona winter conditions, limited snowfall allowed the project to be completed on time and within the budget allocated.

In July 2011, the Saguaro Wildland Fire Module also assisted Walnut Canyon National Monument in thinning the area directly adjacent to the Visitor Center. The crew also worked at Sunset Crater National Monument, raking pine needles and moving dead and down brush away from NPS facilities.

Contact: Charles Strickfaden, Fire Program Coordinator, Flagstaff Area Monuments
Phone: (928) 526-1157

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.