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3:12 PM Wed, Sept. 19th

Stubbs Fire expected to burn out soon

Ecological outcomes positive, Forest Service said

The lightning-caused Stubbs Fire, which started on July 8, appears to be nearing its natural conclusion.

Prescott National Forest/Courtesy

The lightning-caused Stubbs Fire, which started on July 8, appears to be nearing its natural conclusion.

Name: Stubbs Fire

Location: 30 miles northwest of Prescott, AZ on the Chino Valley Ranger District (T16N, R7W, S11)

Start Date: July 9

Size: About 8500 Acres

Percent Contained: 80

Cause: Lightning

Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine

Resource Commitment: One Engine

After a month of burning, the lightning-caused Stubbs Fire appears to be nearing its natural conclusion, according to a Prescott National Forest (PNF) news release.

“There is very little threat to containment lines… as it shows signs of slowing down with little burning of interior islands of unburned fuel,” said PNF spokesperson Debbie Maneely.

Fire managers will continue to monitor the fire for signs of activity or spread, Maneely said. However, monsoon moisture is forecast to continue this week, which may significantly reduce its ability to creep any further.

One of the objectives in the management strategy of the Stubbs Fire, which started on July 9, was to protect stands of mature Ponderosa Pine, Maneely said. To study the impacts of the fire on the environment, a forest hydrologist, soil scientist, biologist and an ecologist recently visited several areas of the fire, finding the majority of the area burned with favorable effects: various levels of consumption of dead logs, low to moderate intensity burning of needles and small trees, areas of brush completely burned, and areas untouched by fire.

The area burned in an historic mosaic pattern on the landscape, Maneely said. Meaning, there are patches of burnt and unburnt areas throughout the fire’s interior. Land managers argue that this pattern of burning increases species diversity and promotes sustainable growth.

“The ecological outcomes of the Stubbs Fire validates, as assessed by professionals, what research and science has told us about historic fire movement across the landscape this time of year as a natural and healthy process,” Maneely said. “Within ten days of burning, forest floor saw immediate grass growth and firefighters witnessed several wildlife species feeding on the newly rejuvenated vegetation.”

Unless there is a significant change in the wildfire’s behavior, this will likely be the final update on the Stubb’s Fire, Maneely said.