Arizona's Big Lake Recreation Area reopens after Wallow Fire closed off area in June; governor calls for upgrade to forest management as local businesses struggle with loss of recreation season

LOS ANGELES , August 26, 2011 () – The Big Lake Recreation Area in Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest was reopened on Wednesday following its closure in June as the Wallow Fire devastated the area, the Tucson Citizen reported Aug. 24.

More than half a million acres were destroyed along with 32 homes, four commercial facilities, and dozens of outbuildings.

Local business owners face a tough 2011 as the state’s largest recorded fire burned through the majority of their biggest recreation season.

According to Governor Jan Brewer, the U.S. Forest Service’s land management strategy needs an upgrade. Had the focus been on harvesting timber to thin forests, hundreds of thousands of acres might have been saved, Brewer said, the Tucson Citizen reported.

Marcia L. Pfleiderer, the U.S. Forest Service’s district ranger for the Springerville region, said 99% of the Burned Area Emergency Response has been completed. This included mulching, seeding, erosion control and removing trees that could create danger.

The primary source of this article is the Tucson Citizen, Tucson, Arizona, on August 24, 2011.

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