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Exploring Wildland Fire

Bureau of Land Management
Environmental Education Electronic Field Trip

November 7, 2002


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On Location: Arizona

Exploring Wildland Fire will visit two sites in Arizona.

Phoenix, Arizona, is the site of BLM's National Training Center, where the satellite broadcast originates. Arizona was also the site of a major fire in the summer of 2002—in fact, the largest fire in the history of the Southwest.

Map showing location and spread and Chediski-Rodeo Fire in summer 2002
The Rodeo-Chediski Fire in Arizona in the summer of 2002 began as two separate fires. The map of acres burned each day shows how they spread, eventually joining together and burning nearly 470,000 acres. (Click image for larger view.)

The Rodeo-Chediski Fire, about 150 miles northeast of Phoneix, was actually two fires that grew together. Before it was over in July 2002, nearly 470,000 acres had burned. Over 400 structures were damaged or destroyed by this—the largest fire in Southwest history. Large areas of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation—some 275,000 acres—were involved. You'll visit the area in eastern Arizona and learn how the fire affected ponderosa pine forests. You'll see firsthand what can happen when fuels are allowed to build up for too long, creating a catastrophic fire. You'll also be able to see the effects of fuel reduction efforts on the Fort Apache Reservation and find out whether they made a difference. And in one of the many communities affected by the fire, you'll learn the importance of being "FireWise."