North Rim fire managers perform aerial ignitions in Pine Hollow fire

Firefighters work on ground operations within the boundary of the Pine Hollow Fire burning near Little Mountain on the North Kaibab Ranger District.

Photo/U.S. Forest Service

Firefighters work on ground operations within the boundary of the Pine Hollow Fire burning near Little Mountain on the North Kaibab Ranger District.

FREDONIA, Ariz. — The Pine Hollow Fire, which was started by a lightning strike near Little Mountain on the North Kaibab Ranger Disitrict, has slowed significantly, allowing fire managers to conduct additional ignition operations.

Firefighters conducted ground firing operations and aerial ignitions along ridgetops and ridgelines south of Forest Road (FR) 3609, within the south-southwest portion of the 10,295-acre planning area boundary. The aerial firing operations helped crews safely even up the fire’s interior edge and bring fire back around to the west side of FR22. Additional firing operations also allows the naturally-caused fire to continue burning, eliminating potentially hazardous fuels. The fire has burned around 5,000 acres so far.

According to North Zone Fire Management Officer Ed Hiatt, there are several tactical reasons why fire managers designate such a large planning area boundary on a wildfire.

“The boundary for the Pine Hollow fire is large, and the main reason for this is so crews can use existing roads and trails so that we limit ground disturbance,” Hiatt said.

When fire managers are determining boundaries, Hiatt explained they are also looking for areas with the highest possibility of success.

“That success includes being able to safely hold fire within the area using features like roads, trails, areas with little or no fuels or areas with recent burn history,” he said. “A large planning area provides us with the decision space to adjust plans, to safely work along boundaries and perform actions on our terms instead of being reactive.”

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