AUGUST 24, 2011

USDA Forest Service Chief Pushes for Rapid Clean-up After Wallow Fire in Arizona

Rehabilitation of the landscape is already underway

usdaWASHINGTON – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell restated his agency’s commitment to an accelerated rehabilitation of the lands devastated by the Wallow fire, which occurred this spring.

This year, Arizona and New Mexico experienced the worst fires in the states’ histories. The Wallow fire in Arizona burned more than 538,000 acres. Although 38 structures burned, a system of fuel treatments developed cooperatively by federal, state and local governments, as well as private citizens, successfully reduced fire behavior and allowed firefighters to protect thousands of structures and, in many places, halt the spread of the fire.

In their commitment to rehabilitate lands in Arizona, Forest Service work crews have already:
• Seeded 99 percent of 80,000 burned acres;
• Reduced the risk of falling trees along 300 miles of roads; and
• Identified over 38 miles of power line corridors for emergency hazard tree removal.

Together, these trees could provide 162,000 tons or 26.5 million board feet of material for wood products. In addition, other recovery operations on 10,400 acres could result in the removal of an additional 150,000 tons or 24.6 million board feet of wood.

“The response to this fire must be immediate and sustained,” Tidwell said. “The Forest Service is fully committed to the recovery and rehabilitation mission in the post Wallow fire environment.”

Tidwell has directed agency personnel to proceed expeditiously so that burned timber can be used for higher valued wood products.

In eastern Arizona, fire-killed trees can only be used for lumber for about two years after they are burned. The removal of dead and fire-damaged trees before then will enable the recovery of timber and other forest products while the wood is still usable saw timber.
Harvesting the wood will also protect communities, roads, power-line corridors and the public.

Roadside corridor work will be finished by the end of 2012 and other projects will be concluded as quickly as possible.

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, in partnership with tribal, state, county, and local governments, as well as a group of diverse stakeholders, is aggressively identifying the necessary recovery work and opportunities for salvage. Over the next several months, after environmental analyses and administrative reviews, the forest will prepare contracts.

“The hard work of the these groups and the experience of working within the strong collaborative process that supported the White Mountain Stewardship project will help us successfully implement the recovery work and opportunities to salvage saw timber and biomass,” Tidwell said.

In addition to the ongoing rehabilitation work in Arizona and other states, the Forest Service is committed to an ambitious program for managing America’s forests, focusing on restoration and conservation by forming partnerships to help maintain the health of all forest lands, public and private, whether or not the Forest Service manages them directly. This approach is not only creating jobs and promoting healthier natural and water resources, but it will reduce the risk of large and dangerous wildfires.

This type of restoration work received a boost recently in the largest ever study of fuel treatment effectiveness by the Forest Service. Agency researchers announced in July that intense thinning treatments that leave between 50 and 100 trees per acre are the most effective in reducing the probability of crown fires in the dry forests of the western United States. The study, published in a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, provides a scientific basis for establishing quantitative guidelines for reducing stand densities and surface fuels.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on National Forest System land contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

AUGUST 24, 2011

Private landowners in municipalities may need to “post” notices regarding hunting, trespass

Recent law changes now allow hunting on fringes of city limits

PHOENIX – Owners of large tracts of land within some municipalities, who desire to prohibit hunting on their lands without their written permission, may find the need to properly post their property boundaries due to recent changes to Arizona Revised Statutes §13-3107.

This posting requirement does not generally apply to homeowners in tract housing developments or communities in urban developments. State law already prohibits discharging a firearm while hunting within a quarter mile of occupied buildings. This means property owners do not need to worry about posting their lands unless a hunter could be farther than a quarter mile from an occupied building while still on your property.

Amendments to ARS §13-3107 went into effect July 20, 2011, giving the Arizona Game and Fish Commission the authority to regulate the use of firearms within any municipality for the lawful take of wildlife. The respective municipal chiefs of police held this authority before, and in most cases, there were local ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms, precluding the need to post these private lands.

“There may be some private landowners who do not wish to allow hunting on their lands,” said Assistant Director of Field Operations, Leonard Ordway, with Arizona Game and Fish. “While past over-arching local ordinances precluded the need to post their lands, landowners who wish to prohibit hunting will now need to properly ‘post’ their lands pursuant to ARS §17-304.”

The “posted” notices or signboards to prohibit hunting shall include, but are not limited to, the following information and stipulations:

Be not less than 8 by 11 inches with capital and bold-faced legible lettering at least one inch high; Contain the words "no hunting;”

Be at least four feet above ground level at all points of vehicular access, posted at all property or fence corners, and at intervals of not more than one-quarter mile along the property boundary.

Additionally, if a private landowner wishes to close their lands to trespass, this law also has provisions to provide reasonable notice against trespass, and then violators would be subject to enforcement actions under criminal trespass laws rather than the state’s hunting laws.

The complete requirements of ARS §17-304, can be found at:
However, some landowners may want to consider allowing hunting on their private lands. If that is the case, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has a program dedicated to making this a win-win situation, including various incentive programs and other mechanisms.

“Even though Arizona has a large percentage of public lands, relationships with private landowners remain an important aspect for the future of our hunting heritage, and fostering these relationships benefits the property owner, sportsmen and wildlife,” added Ordway.

To learn more about how Game and Fish has implemented these change to assure the public’s safety, while still providing hunting opportunity in these undeveloped, uninhabited public lands in municipalities, visit