PFD WUI boundaries are vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire due to the fuel loading of heavily stocked ponderosa pine with interlocking canopies and a high tree density range of approximately 120-300 or more Basal Area/Acre on private properties. These properties are adjacent to open space Apache Sitgreaves National Forest lands and under the threat of bi-directional transmission of fire. The affected WUI area has an assessed value of properties in the planning area at $131 million dollars and a population base of 9000 residents.
The planned treatment zones are the High-Risk private properties identified in their CWPP unit PLSL 24. This area includes over 3000 homes, businesses, and multifamily dwellings interspersed in continuous micro-forests of overstocked Ponderosa Pine the identified areas of concern.
The project purpose is the reduction of hazardous fuels. PFD has three objectives to accomplish this goal: 1) reduce continuous tree canopies and overstocked tree density hazardous fuels to 80 Basal Area per square foot per acre. 2) Target prescribed fire application on approximately 135 acres of previously thinned large properties to restore historical fire regime. 3) Establish a chipping program in all of our Firewise USA designated communities to ensure ongoing fuel mitigation and homeowner engagement. The reduction of hazardous fuels enhances risk reduction from wildfire while increasing the community’s resilience to recover from wildfire by reducing fuel loading and creating defensible space. These objectives also improve the firefighter safety through an improved work environment and creation of safe zones.
Pinetop has accomplished the following in the 2019 Spring Season:
- Hosted one event on the weekend of April 27& 28 at the Mesa Church Camp site chipping ladder fuels, ground cover, and thinning on 32 acres.
- Held two community Chipper Day events. The Woodland Hills HOA group scheduled their event on May 10 through May 20. The event removed two 30 cubic yard dumpsters of ladder fuels, leaf litter, and needle cast biomass from the community. Residence were instructed to bag all of their leaf and needle cast litter and small ladder fuel waste and drop off to the site. The fuels crew chipped on three occasions to reduce the biomass into the dumpsters for removal.
- Started on the first acre property in the White Mountain Summer homes HOA today (April 10, 2019) on the Shorb residence. The technical trees were removed by the contractor on May 8and fuels crew completed slash removal and chipping on May 9. We thinned this property to 80 BA per sq. foot per acre.
- Prescribed burns with the forest service were postponed due to weather. The burns resumed in late May and early June. This burn isn’t part of the grant. However, following completion of the forest service burn Pinetop conducted rx fire on June 6 with monitoring occurring through Saturday, June 8, 2019.