Tag Archives: Mother Nature

Q&A With Don Muise About Forest Fires and Why They Keep Happening

Valerie Millett | Coconino National Forest

Valerie Millett | Coconino National Forest

The number of acres burned in the Coconino National Forest has more than doubled from last year, according to Don Muise, the forest aviation and fire staff officer for the forest. Between January 1 and April 30 of last year, there were 16 fires, all human-caused. So far in 2014, 23 fires have occurred, and all but one were human caused. Muise spoke to us about what fire restrictions are in place to protect the national forest and why more fires are occurring this year.

What current restrictions are in effect?
We’re in what we call Stage 1 restrictions, and what that entails is fire, campfire, charcoal or coal-stove use is restricted except in a valid recreation site. The other thing that is prohibited is smoking, except within a closed vehicle, building or developed recreation site.

How are restrictions decided?
We try not to impose bans on fires just haphazardly; we have indicators that we use to tell us when conditions are such that we should do that. The fire restrictions that we use in the forest are a staged restriction plan, starting from the Stage 1 restriction all the way to Stage 4, which is a full forest closure. That’s a very difficult situation, closing off 1.8 million acres to folks who want to recreate on the national forest.

Is it normal to have restrictions early in the season?
We’re a little earlier than normal; last year we didn’t impose Stage 1 restrictions until about May 17, but because of the lack of snowpack this year and the dry conditions, it really forced us to start using restrictions as a prevention tool to prevent further starts. What we were seeing was the fires that we were getting — most of them human-caused — were getting up and running on us and making it difficult. What we call the “resistance to control” was getting tougher and tougher.

What preventative measures can visitors take to protect the forest?
It’s too bad that a few folks will ruin it for the many, because we get tons of visitors up here, and part of their enhanced recreation experience is having a campfire, and I can understand that. What happens, though, is there are some people that don’t understand or don’t care and won’t thoroughly put out their fire. They’ll just drive away and let it burn, and then the wind comes up and blows it around or it gets out of the containment. Our big pitch to folks is, when you can have campfires, make sure they’re completely out and completely cool to the touch.

What other information should visitors be aware of?
There are a lot of things that can and will start fires in the forest, including generators, chain saws, and motorcycles and ATVs without proper spark arrestors on their mufflers. So just be very aware that if they want the forest there to enjoy, then they’ve got to help us prevent the starts that could happen from any of those things.

—Kirsten Kraklio



Filed under Eco Issues, In the Area, Mother Nature

Friday Fotos: Arizona’s Brilliant Starry Skies

C. Edward Brice | Sedona

C. Edward Brice | Sedona

Not just beautiful, though — the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore.

Enjoy this week’s Friday Fotos, and a huge thanks to everyone who shared on our Facebook page.


Filed under Friday Fotos

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act with a Subscription to Arizona Highways

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 8.31.32 AMSeptember 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, a landmark law that helped protect some of America’s last great wild country and created 90 protected wilderness areas in Arizona. Now, you can help protect the state’s wilderness areas, too. With each new Arizona Highways subscription purchased using promo code M3WILDC, we’ll donate $5 to the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. To subscribe, visit http://www.arizonahighways.com.

For more information about Arizona’s wilderness areas, visit http://www.azwild.org. 

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Filed under Eco Issues, Loco for Local, Mother Nature

Friday Fotos: Shades of Blue in Arizona

Photography by Saija | Four Peaks

Photography by Saija | Four Peaks

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” —Eleonora Duse



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Go Camping this Weekend!

Looking to get out of the heat this weekend? Why not go camping? Pick up the Arizona Highways Camping Guide, which features 100 of the best campgrounds in Arizona. The book, which includes Arizona Highways’ iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about locations, amenities, seasonal accessibility and fees is included with each listing.


Filed under Books, Things to Do

Friday Fotos: Arizona’s Beautiful Grasslands

Jag Fergus | Prescott Valley

Jag Fergus | Prescott Valley

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” — John Muir
If you love this week’s gallery, we hope you’ll share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest … or just email them the link. For more stunning photographs of grasslands, pick up the August issue of Arizona Highways.


Filed under Friday Fotos