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The Forest Service has started to prioritize where work will happen first within the 600,000 acres approved for prescribed burning and thinning under the first Four Forest Restoration Initiative Environmental Impact Statement.

The EIS area covers the Coconino and Kaibab national forests, though the entire 4FRI area stretches across 2.4 million acres that also  includes the Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto national forests.

A thinning project in the Fort Valley area and a thinning and prescribed burning project in the Lake Mary watershed area are the first slated for work under the recently-completed EIS. The Forest Service’s goal is to begin prescribed burning in the Upper Lake Mary Project, and have contracts in place for the thinning in both projects in 2016, according to an email from 4FRI spokeswoman Brienne Pettit.

Other priority areas include Bill Williams Mountain near the city of Williams, the headwaters of Cataract Creek and Upper Hell Canyon and the Coconino Wash near Tusayan.

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Emery Cowan can be reached at (928) 556-2250 or ecowan@azdailysun.com

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Environment, Health and Science Reporter

Emery Cowan writes about science, health and the environment for the Arizona Daily Sun, covering everything from forest restoration to endangered species recovery efforts.

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