Projects To Thin Arizona Forests To Prevent Fires Are Hitting Snags

Published: Monday, February 5, 2018 - 3:18pm
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The forests in northern Arizona and across the region are not healthy. After a century of fighting forest fires, the forests here are overgrown and now prone to fast-spreading wildfires.

But projects designed to mechanically thin those forests to prevent wildfires are hitting some snags, according to Emery Cowan with the Arizona Daily Sun.

The Show’s Lauren Gilger spoke with Cowan more about this, and she joins us now.

First you have the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, a federal project that aims to thin more than 1 million acres of forest in about a 2.4 million acre area across northern Arizona and the wider region.

Then there’s the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, which has similar goals but is centered around watersheds in the area. It’s funded by a voter-approved $10 million bond.

But these projects just aren’t getting done. Only about 3 percent of the Flagstaff project’s contract has been completed at this point. And, when I spoke with Cowan, I started by asking her to explain why thinning the forests — especially near watersheds — is an important project that needs to get done.

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