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USDA Forest Service begins prescribed fire operations for cross-boundary restoration project with San Carlos Apache Reservation

Stock Photo. Flaming dry grass on a field. Forest fire.

PHOENIX, April 13, 2023 — The Tonto National Forest and San Carlos Apache Tribe will begin a 1,174-acre cross-boundary prescribed fire operation at the Timber Camp Recreation Area and Group Campgrounds beginning Saturday, April 15-29, 2023, for the Highway Tanks Tribal Forest Protection Act (TFPA) fuel reduction project.

For the safety of the firefighters and the public, officials urge motorists to use extreme caution when driving on Highway US Route 60 as fire specialists anticipate possible smoke impacts from mile marker 270 to mile marker 285. Burning will cease each day by 3 p.m. to limit smoke impacts to Highway US Route 60.

The Highway Tanks TFPA project is part of the overarching cross-boundary San Carlos Apache Tribal Forest Protection Act project aimed at treating national forest system lands adjacent to tribal reservation lands here in Arizona. In January 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USDA Forest Service pledged $32 million for cross-boundary projects on the Apache Sitgreaves, Coronado and Tonto National Forests adjacent to the San Carlos Apache Reservation lands as part of the USDA Forest Service 10-year strategy to address the wildfire crisis.

Under this cross-boundary forest restoration effort, the Highway Tanks TFPA will treat national forest lands along the eastern boundary of the Globe Ranger District adjacent to the San Carlos Apache Tribal Reservation land. Phase one of the project began in early March when Reserve Treaty Rights Lands (RTRL) crews, provided by the San Carlos Apache Tribe, began hand and mechanical thinning to treat national forest lands near the chrysotile mountain area and Timber Camp Recreation Area. 

The benefits from these treatments include improved plant and wildlife habitat, increased biodiversity, wildlife corridors, clean water, flood control, the protection of culturally significant native foods and plants, improved timber stands and recreational opportunities, as well as reducing the threat of invasive species on the landscape. 

“The Globe Ranger District has already begun bi-weekly meetings between our core Forest Service team and San Carlos Tribal natural resource managers to coordinate the immediate implementation of treatments as well as the development of future projects,” said Globe District Ranger Adam Bromley. “These bi-weekly meetings with San Carlos have strengthened our relationship with the tribe’s fire and natural resource managers. We’ve made the commitment to work with them to achieve the desired outcomes on the ground without delay.”

For additional information, contact Fire Management Officer Barry Johnson of the Globe Ranger District at (928) 402-6200, Barry.Johnson@usda.gov or contact the Globe Ranger Station located at 7680 S. Six Shooter Canyon Rd., Globe, Arizona 85501.

For the latest news and information about the Tonto National Forest, follow along on Facebook @TontoNationalForest or Twitter @TontoForest.

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