Department of Forestry and Fire Management 2017 Newsletter 
August 2017 

The Department of Forestry and Fire Management's mission is to manage and reduce fire risk to protect Arizona's people, communities and wildland areas; and to champion the health of Arizona's natural resources. 

This year, there was not one area of the state that was not untouched by wildfires. The wildfire season started in the southern part of the state and quickly gained momentum in that region.
The Sawmill Fire was the first of many fires in that area, some larger than others, some forcing evacuations and threatening structures and destroying properties.
The 2017 fire season slowly shifted it's way northward even making its mark in Phoenix-proper with the 303 Fire off Interstate 17 and the Loop 303 interchange.
Black Canyon City saw its fair share of fires as well.Then, in late June and early July, two larger fires scorched northern Arizona; the Highline Fire near Payson and the Goodwin Fire just southwest of Prescott. So far this year, more than 400,000 acres have burned across Arizona costing millions of dollars in fire suppression efforts.
The Department of Forestry and Fire Management took command of more than 20 fires this season and assisted our federal partners, including the Tonto National Forest, the Prescott National Forest, the Coronado National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management with dozens more. 
Fire Management Assistance Grants were secured for a handful of fires and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency to help State Forestry and Fire absorb suppression costs. 

The Globe, Arizona, community reaching out during the Pinal Fire. 
The Fort Grant crew on the Mirador Fire in Southern Arizona. The Mirador Fire burned 250 acres 16 miles southwest of Arivaca in May. 
Fuel Break Stops Goodwin Fire Near Mayer 
The Fire Starts:
On Saturday, June 24th, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management, along with the Prescott National Forest and other area cooperators, responded to a 150-acre fire near the community of Pine Flats. Upon fire crews’ arrival, fire activity was high and within hours that community, roughly 14 miles south of Prescott, was put on pre-evacuation notice by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

By Monday, within 48 hours of the fire’s start, the blaze jumped to 1,500 acres and started showing signs of erratic behavior.  As of Monday night, 500 fire personnel had  been assigned the Goodwin Fire along with a DC 10, heavy air tankers, and other aviation resources. But the hundreds of firefighters and the heavy air attack could not work fast enough to slow the fire. The Goodwin Fire moved vigorously through dense, overgrown Chaparral and through the communities of Pine Flats and Breezy Pines. Multiple communities had been evacuated and others had been put on standby mode. The fire burned hot, erratic, and fast and quickly started making its way toward the communities of Mayer and Dewey-Humboldt.  

Erratic Fire Behavior:
On Tuesday, June 27th, three days after the fire started, the Goodwin Fire snaked its way down into the Prescott Valley-area, toward Mayer, eventually jumping State Route 69. That night, fire officials reported the fire had ballooned to more than 18,000 acres and conditions were tense. Firefighters were working with volatile and explosive fuels, so threatening, crews were pulled off the fire for a few hours until the intense and unsafe fire behavior could settle down. Once back on the fire lines, crews worked straight through the night and into the morning hours, working to stop the fire from moving into Mayer.
By the morning of June 28th, the fire had grown to 20,000 acres, evacuations remained in place, roads were still closed, and 1,000 firefighters were now assigned to the fire.

Mayer Fuel Break:
Residents of Mayer braced for the fire to hit their town. But it never did. The Goodwin Fire stopped just west of the town and shifted north.
In 2015, State Forestry and Fire installed a 270-acre fuel break west of Mayer. The project consisted of manipulating the fuel stand and removing as much vegetation as possible to change a fire’s behavior, if a fire where to ever reach those fuels.
“We can’t control the wind, we can’t control the topography, but we can manipulate the vegetation,” said Forestry and Fire’s State Fuels Manager Terry Hudson.
The fuel break essentially allowed the fire to stop itself before moving into Mayer, thus it changed its course and headed away from the community.
“The south boundary of the fire could have gone through the center of Mayer and into the southern end of the White Horse Subdivision in the Dewey area. Because of the work here, we feel strongly that the fire didn’t do that and it was curtailed in Division Tango, just north of Mayer,’ said Hudson.

Saving a Community:
The Mayer fuel break was funded by state hazardous vegetation reduction or HVR funding. Forestry and Fire receives a set amount determined by the Arizona legislature every year to use toward fuels reduction projects across Arizona. Project partners included, the Prescott National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
However, despite the work near Mayer, there is still a lot of potential along SR 69 to have ignitions from road side fires. Thick vegetation, including the overgrown Chaparral has not been cleared in decades. Forestry and Fire’s Mayer fuel break project is the first of many tasks in that SR 69 corridor. 
Today, Forestry and Fire is working another fuels reduction project in the Dewey-Humboldt area. This 3,500-acre project consists of reducing hazardous fuels and manipulating vegetation along the southwest border of Dewey-Humboldt. Fuels reduction projects, like the one in Mayer and the one near Dewey-Humboldt, help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, they allow firefighters the opportunity to manage suppression efforts more efficiently, and they also save lives. These projects allow us to be in charge, they allow us to control where we want the fire to burn, and not let the fire take the reins.  

DFFM Billboards 
In early May, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management designed and purchased three billboard locations to bring the agency's prevention message to the forefront. The messages were area-specific and included the 'One Spark is all it Takes' messaging. The billboard near Tucson received 116,000 impressions per week. So for eight weeks, nearly 1 million drivers along the Interstate 10 corridor viewed Forestry and Fire's messaging. Two other boards, near Chino Valley and Payson, also had similar messaging, but focused on campfire safety. These marketing tools are useful in reaching more of the public with the hopes of reinforcing fire safety. "We can only do so much outreach and fuels mitigation work," said State Forester Jeff Whitney. "Ultimately, fire safety and awareness lies in the hands of our residents." 

One of three billboards designed by DFFM as part of the agency's awareness and prevention campaign.
The 2017 Wildfire Season started in April when the Sawmill Fire scorched nearly 47,000 acres in southeastern Arizona. The state made national and international headlines due to the intensity of this year's fire season. Hundreds of stories were reported on, too many to include, but here's a snapshot of some of the few articles that should not be missed: 

 The Goodwin Fire burned nearly 29,000 acres south of Prescott in July. Photo courtesy of Russ Shumate.
Department of Forestry and Fire Management  | 1100 W. Washington Ave., Ste. 100, Phoenix, AZ
602-771-1500 |