SONOITA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Smoke may be visible to the south of Tucson on Monday, April 9, due to a prescribed fire that will be conducted by the Nogales Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest.
According to a recent news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture U.S. Forest Service, crews are expected to conduct the Gardner Prescribed Fire as early as Monday. The burn area consists of National Forest System lands in the southeastern portion of the Santa Rita Mountains between Gardner Canyon on the north and Hog Canyon on the south, encompassing 250 acres.
Residents in Sonoita, Patagonia and some in Tucson may see smoke for the duration of the project, and temporary road and trail closures will go into effect as prescribed fire activities progress, according to the new release. Closure orders will be posted appropriately.
Fire managers expect to complete burning while environmental and fuels conditions remain favorable for manageable fire activity. Burning may continue for several days or may be intermittent, with ignitions occurring as fuel and weather conditions become suitable during April.
The Gardner Prescribed Fire is designed to reduce the accumulation of hazardous fuels, improve range and watershed conditions, improve wildlife habitat, return the ecosystem to a more fire-resilient state, and reduce the likelihood of future high-intensity wildfires within the project area. By reducing the probability of extreme fire behavior during future wildland fires, the intent is to subsequently reduce threats to firefighter and public safety as well as reduce costs and natural resource damage due to fires.
Fire has played an important ecological role in the history of the grassland and woodland ecosystems of southeastern Arizona. Regular intervals of naturally-occurring fire restricted growth of shrubs in grasslands, thinned forests of fire-intolerant trees, increased stream flows, and renewed wildlife habitat. A decrease in the frequency of natural fire has resulted in areas of dense, overgrown vegetation and the accumulation of fuel available for wildfires.
For further information please contact the Nogales Ranger District Office at (520) 761-6000 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The office is closed weekends and federal holidays.