State Legislators Assist Arizona Ranchers in Wallow Fire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2011
CONTACT: Paul Boyer

Northern Arizona Representatives Brenda Barton, Chester Crandall, Senator Sylvia Allen and the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Frank Pratt have reached out to the Arizona State Parks and State Land Department to facilitate the potential relocation of livestock in the event of evacuation requirements due to the Wallow Fire.

“We’re trying to do our part to help ranchers with their livestock,” Representative Brenda Barton said. “This move will help them to get a hold of water for their animals while these brave firefighters work to bring an end to the fire.”

State Parks and the State Land Department responded immediately to make the approximately 1,000 acres of Lyman Lake available to Northern Arizona ranchers for this relocation.

“I’m praying for the safety of our firefighters and citizens who are in the path of this catastrophic fire,” Senator Allen said. “Opening Lyman Lake is one thing that the state can do to help with livestock evacuation.”

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Comments

  1. That’s what it’s going to take is everyone working together to help each other. Good for you Senator Allen and Representatives Barton and Crandell. To selfishly close up the forests which has caused this devastation is criminal and perhaps we need to look into how to get our forests back..even if it means court!

  2. Very concerned about the risk of fires across the state this year. Like Texas, we had more rains which produced a bumper crop of tumbleweeds and brush that sit like tinder under trees, along fences, piled up along the highways. Big patches and long strips of gold-dried foxtail behaves like a fuse in a fire, easily carrying flames along fencelines from one yard or field to another. The Coconino Nat forest – a scubby, dry weedy tangle is alarming in its current condition.
    It’s a very dangerous situation.
    The highway dept could have mowed when this stuff was green, knocking it down, not allowing it to go to seed or let to grow 6 feet high and dry in place. But they didn’t, when it was easy and more effective and safer than bulldozing the dried up mess now. The towns are lax in requiring homeowners and tenants to clean up yards of trash.
    One of the sad things about beautiful AZ is the scruffiness of the open lands – mesquites are actually pretty interesting trees but they sit untrimmed – all thorns and dead branches. The problem is no more grazing animals of the kind that will trim trees and eat weeds. If there are no animals to do that job, then people have to do it to thin the undergrowth. Regular burns would do wonders, but it’s so bad now even a scheduled burn is too risky with so much potential fuel piled around the neighborhoods.

  3. Rep. Brenda Barton says

    @Wanuba, the fire load in the major forested regions where these catastrophic wildfires occur is so dense that it is impossible to walk through the forest in many areas. Small trees choking each other competing for water and sunlight build up between the larger established mature trees and both are damaged.

    A healthy forest should look something like a park, with a good distance between the larger trees. What happens is that instead of a normal density of trees, our forests in some places are up to 30x the density of a healthy forest. This allows infestations such as the bark beetle to spread rapidly among healthy trees and it chokes the water supply to the entire forest. Once healthy riparian stream ways have been dry for years due to the overcrowding conditions in the forest.

    What is required is prudent thinning of older dying trees and a regular clearing of the undergrowth of small saplings. This not only allows the forest to breathe and property absorb the water, it retards the spread of wildfires and parasitic infestations.

    Keeping our forests healthy encourages public recreation; creates employment; and in turn powers the economy of the region. Everyone wins.

  4. Rep Barton

    I totally agree with you. It’s truly a wildlife disaster, and a terrible fire hazard. I mentioned in the previous post what we observed of the difference between African game parks and US parks. Just pathetic here – the Forest Service has this mindset of a museum – frozen in time, don’t touch anything. That’s absurd with living environments, and as you said, those forests are literally choked by dead wood, no grazing forage, no way to move through the congestion. The animals are literally forced by lack of food and easy passage to live OUTSIDE them.
    Terrible!

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