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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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11/28/2012 9:55:00 PM
Fighting fire with fire: Prescribed burn completed
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

Prescott National Forest firefighter Dan Matthews ignites the grass at a prescribed burn south of Prescott Tuesday morning. Crews on Wednesday completed the burn of 267 acres near the turnoff to Ponderosa Park adjacent to Highway 89. Smoke should dissipate this morning.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012

Can't even sit in your own home without smelling the smoke and burning your eyes. Asthmatics nightmare. Not good for anyone with COPD, breathing problems, bronchitis or asthma. Even the animals can't breathe.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Jesse L

@Miss Phitt you seem to be unaware of the fact that prescribed burns *don't burn trees*.

The only things burned are dead pine needles, grass, underbrush, and similar detritus.

Ponderosa Pines have bark that is fire resistant and they tend to shed their lower branches as they grow. This allows them to easily weather the natural forest fires which would regularly clean out the forest floor and eliminates the ladder fuels that would endanger the tops of the trees - if it weren't for a century of forest management that focused on total fire suppression.

Modern forest management seeks to duplicate those natural conditions that keep forests healthy.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Preskitt local

"Prescribed burning converts soil into a glass-like condition to a depth of 1-3 feet, rendering it incapable of growing anything substantial for 50-150 years. That does not "return" the forest to "health", nor is all this smoke healthy for human beings."

What a hilarious claim! Go up and check out areas of the PNF that were burned last fall - they support a rich understory that grew up shortly after the burns. Take a trip and examine the area burned in the Gladiator fire - bright green plants were sprouting up late in monsoon season, mere months after a fire much hotter than these little controlled burns.

If you're going to take the time to write comments here, please limit them to either opinion or factual statements. Spouting blatant lies like this is just plain childish.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Miss Phitt

Trees should not be treated like trash. As a matter of fact, we don't even burn municipal trash anymore because of the pollution, yet we routinely burn the forest.

What a DUMB thing to do when there are so many people needing jobs, and money to be made from converting trees to usable products. No one even gets to benefit from the heat from prescribed burns, as is the case with wood-burning stoves.

Prescribed burns are a total and complete waste of energy, opportunity, and resources.

People say 'If we don't burn it, it'll burn us', as if there were NO other options. Give me a break! Burning is NOT the only option to prevent forest fires. There are JOBS and MONEY going up in smoke now with prescribed burns, not to mention real and serious health costs. They'd rather burn the trees like they do our taxdollars. Just who decided, and when, that trees had no economic value and had to be simply burned up? That's like burning dollar bills.

And we wonder why our economy is going down the tubes with China due to become the world biggest economy within the next 5 years. Maybe too many people have already inhaled too much smoke. - it does harm the brain as well as the lungs.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Attn: Stand up and be Counted

Is living in ignorance really bliss? Soil turned into glass? Before you go ranting and raving about a subject you obviously know nothing about, try doing some research first. Can't read? Then just go out and look at all of the burns from last year. What do you see? Hmmm...there are actually things growing in it again. No wonder you are misinformed judging by the website you refer to for your knowledge.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Jesse L

One way or another, there IS going to be fire out there.

We can wait until it builds to the volatility of a fireworks factory, with huge amounts of fuel on the ground and underbrush that will allow fires to easily climb into the crowns of the trees and destroy the whole forest.

Or we can have controlled burns and manage the natural fires in the way that helps Ponderosa forests to deal with fire in the way they've naturally evolved to.

We've already seen the results of the first course of action. Anyone who was here 10 years ago and saw the Indian Fire knows how well it works out.

Anyone who has gone out to see the forest in the places that were burned just a few months ago can see for themselves that the soil has been anything but sterilized. The fire has moved through quickly, burning off detritus and grass without harming trees or established plants. There are already new grasses poking through and these areas seem to be more popular with the wildlife than the unburned areas.

I'm not a fan of the smoke myself, but it's a price we inevitably pay for living adjacent to a forest.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Please Sit Down and Zip It!

Soil into glass?!?!? Too funny!

Normally I disagree with commenters who say "if you don't like it then leave", but in this case it really does apply.

If you can't stand hot summers, Phoenix is probably not the place for you. If you can't stand cold winters, maybe don't live in North Dakota. Likewise, if you are highly sensitive to smoke from controlled burns, maybe you should not live in a town surrounded by over a million acres of national forest...

Keep up the good work, PNF!

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Miss Phitt

What if we wore breathing masks and burned leaves or green wood to cause a smokey cloud every weekend down at the Courthouse Square to make a point? If there an ordinance against open burning? It is our public square, isn't it?

We already have people using the Square as their personal dog potties, so it's time those of us who need to breath for a living make a stink of our own!

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Yes Please ...

... stop these prescribed burns, as Stand Up and others would seem to prefer it being done in just one huge conflagration every decade or so.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Please stand up and be counted.

Setting fire to grass? The smoke has been horrible! Prison crews would've loved a day of sunshine Weed-Wacking that stuff down. Besides, whatever happened to prescribed burning being finished for this year?

Those of us who oppose prescribed burning need to send emails/letters to everyone from the President to the Secretary of Agriculture to those members of Congress who hail from our smokey state to others who oppose allowing fires to burn in the forest, such as U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-NM. Respectfully writing officials who support/are neutral about the burns would also be wise, as would contacting news media to encourage coverage of this topic.

Plenty of Coloradans are standing tall against these potential sources of out-of-control fires, after three homeowners were killed by a prescribed burn near Denver in March. There is also a groundswell of opposition in New Mexico and elsewhere.

Prescribed burning converts soil into a glass-like condition to a depth of 1-3 feet, rendering it incapable of growing anything substantial for 50-150 years. That does not "return" the forest to "health", nor is all this smoke healthy for human beings.

The U.S. Forest Service and other burn supporters want you to believe you are alone in opposing prescribed burning, and that objecting to this practice is futile. It is not. Stand up and be counted by conveying your opinion to those who have the authority to change policy.

Please see for elected officials' contact information.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: A Observation

I actually thought the PNF did a far better job this year of keeping smoke out of Prescott then in previous years. They seemed to of burned alot more this year in and around the town of Prescott with almost no impacts. There were some days i wouldn't have even known they were burning other than it was mentioned in the Courier. There was a slight smell of smoke yesterday in town but it was short lived, harmless and no different than a winter day in Prescott when fireplaces and woodstoves are going.
Kudos to the PNF and the firefighters, you take alot of heat and undeserving this year for sure.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: I Could Have Coughed All Night...

... and I DID cough, choke, and gag all night even with my windows closed tight, but who cares.


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