Improve Fire Prevention and Suppression Reduce Hazardous FuelsRestore Fire Adapted Ecosystems Promote Community AssistanceSummary
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Overview


Eagar location map

Eagar is located near the New Mexico border in central Arizona. It abuts the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest to the south. With a population of 4,033, Eagar is a small town. According to the 2000 Census, the median annual household income is $37,378 and the median home value is $89,400. 9.2% of the population ismade up of seasonal residents.

For many years the economic backbone of Eagar was agriculture and trading. In more recent years, the town has placed a focus on timber-related industries including two power plants and a sawmill. Tourism and recreation are also increasing draws for the 100,000 people that visit the National Forest each.


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Addressing the Threat

Primary vegetation is a mixture of ponderosa pine, pinon-juniper and chaparral with quick burning fuels, like grass, a bigger threat closer to town. On the southwestern side of town some residential areas abut the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The real wildfire risk is not necessarily to Eagar itself, but the surrounding communities, like Greer, Nutrioso, Alpine and Hideaway. These small communities are interspersed among approximately 8,000-10,000 acres of USFS ponderosa pine forests the primary area for wildfire risk.

Eagar has been most successful in developing and promoting a small diameter timber (SDT) products industry. For the people living in Eagar and surrounding communities, the focus on SDT is just common sense. In the 1960s there were 31 sawmills in Arizona, as of 2004 only one large mill and four smaller ones are in business. According to Eagar City Manger Bill Greenwood, "This community grew up on timber and cattle. As late as the early 1980s, there were 500-700 jobs tied directly to the logging and lumber industry, and now they're gone… We still have some people in the area that have some background in logging. So let's change the technology, let's change the approach a little bit. We can improve the forest health and create a few jobs at the same time". Ironically, finding a steady supply of projects and SDT is the biggest challenge facing the region. SDT producers and utilizers need a dependable pipeline of work and materials on which to build their emerging businesses. Providing this supply has proven difficult due to contracting issues, Environmental Impact Statement problems, fires and other obstacles.

SDT material

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Copyright©2004 Toddi A. Steelman and North Carolina State University

 
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