400-Acre Project To Reduce Wildfires Risk Near Flagstaff Scheduled This Month

In the next few weeks, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM) begins a six-month fuels project southwest of Flagstaff to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, protect nearby communities, improve forest health, and safeguard watersheds.

Starting the week of August 28, work starts on the 441-acre Woody Project located on State Trust lands around the Equestrian Estates subdivision. Prep work, to include tree marking for the timber project finished a few weeks ago. Tree marking provides a guide for project contractors as to which trees stay and which ones get removed. There are two separate cutting units for the project.

For cutting unit 1, Ponderosa pine trees with orange tagging stay. In cutting unit 2, DFFM foresters provide verbal and written direction to contractors for tree removal.

Heavy machinery, including harvesters and skidders will be used to conduct the project work. The project provides for the removal of dead or diseased trees and allows the forest to return to a more natural state, free of overgrowth and infestation. The strategic removal of trees allows for healthier forests and a landscape more resilient to wildfire.

The Woody Project is one of many fuels reduction projects that fit within DFFM and the U.S. Forest Service’s strategic plans to safeguard the greater Flagstaff community.

Contractors will haul off all logging slash from within the project area. Forest Road 231 (Woody Mountain Road) and Forest Road 523 (Purple Sage Trail) are the two main haul routes for the project. While there are no planned road closures, residents within Equestrian Estates and adjacent communities should be mindful of heavy equipment working in the area and traveling along the roads.

The project is expected to be completed by February 2024.