wildfires

Can you see it? The fire in the photo above?

A single tree burning doesn't put up much smoke.

There's a flash of lightning, sizzling across the sky. Then a pause as bark smolders and flames creep, building heat until poof: a signal in the sky.

Philip Connors, gazing outward from a tower, sees it as a new dent on the crest of a distant ridge. He's spent thousands of hours contemplating the contours of southwest New Mexico. The fuzzy smudge is out of place.

Connie Mehmel and Ian Bennett have a mother-son bond forged by fire.

Connie, 68, retired from the Forest Service last week, marking the end of her 42-year career. Ian, 42, is a lieutenant with the Seattle Fire Department.

Connie became a firefighter when she was a young mother in the 1970s. At the time, the Forest Service was working to recruit more women to join its ranks.

A huge mechanical claw scoops up several ponderosa pine logs and feeds them into an industrial chipper. Thousands of wood chunks are then blasted into a large shipping container.

"It goes anywhere from one to four to three up to seven small ones can just kind of throw in that little jaws there," explains Jeff Halbrook, a research associate with Northern Arizona University's Ecological Restoration Institute. Today he's overseeing what's fondly known as the chip-and-ship pilot project about 20 minutes west of Flagstaff.

Prescribed Burns Planned for Boggy Draw

Aug 16, 2019
Courtesy of the San Juan National Forest

The Dolores Ranger District has announced plans for additional prescribed burns in Boggy Draw this fall. The burns are expected to take place in the coming days as long as conditions remain favorable for fuel and weather.

Road Closure Around Doe Canyon Fire Lifted

Jul 10, 2019
Courtesy of Kathy Russell/San Juan National Forest

The road closure around the Doe Canyon Fire was lifted Tuesday.

Lorena Williams, acting executive assistant with the U.S. Forest Service, said the closure ended ahead of schedule due to calmer fire conditions. 

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