San Carlos Apaches work with Tonto Forest to reduce wildfire risk on shared border

By Ron Dungan
Published: Monday, July 10, 2023 - 6:39pm

Courtesy of Tonto National Forest
Crews work in a prescribed burn in April. The burn was near the San Carlos and Tonto National Forest border.

The Department of Agriculture awarded $32 million to the San Carlos Apaches for wildfire mitigation earlier this year, and the tribe is working with Tonto National Forest to reduce fire risk near the reservation border.

The reservation is flanked by three national forests, including the Tonto.

Earlier this year, crews with the Forest Service and the tribe worked together on prescribed burns along their shared border.

They worked south of the Flying V Fire, which forced a temporary highway closure and remains active.

Amanda Oliver, a spokeswoman for Tonto National Forest, says the work will pay dividends in the future.

“Because as you know, wildfire does not recognize boundaries whatsoever,” Oliver said. “So this prescribed fire and work that we’re doing — whether it’s thinning, masticating, or prescribed fire in general — super important to the landscape in a lot of different ways.”

Crews with Tonto National Forest and the San Carlos Apache Tribe worked on a prescribed burn south of the Flying V wildfire earlier this year.

“The Tonto and the San Carlos Apache Tribe are working together in a cross-boundary effort for prescribed fire, mastication and thinning,” Oliver said. “And it’s an ongoing process, multi-year, and we’re excited to continue that when conditions allow.”

She says that crews elsewhere on the Rim are currently working on hand-thinning projects.

FronterasEnvironment Wildfires