In the lead story of our July issue, we provided an assessment on the impact of the "Wallow" fire in Arizona, which was then burning out of control in Game Management Units (GMUs) 1 and 27.
Since then, the blaze has been fully contained. According to a presentation made on June 24 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) biologists to the Game and Fish Commission (which actually sets seasons and permit numbers in the state), the Wallow Fire had, at that point, burned approximately 49 percent of Unit 1 and 28 percent of Unit 27. However, only about four percent of Unit 1 and three percent of Unit 27 was severely burned, while 11 percent of Unit 1 and five percent of Unit 27 was moderately burned; 19 percent of Unit 1 and seven percent of Unit 27 had only low impact from the fire; and 15 percent of Unit 1 and 13 percent of Unit 27 had extremely low fire impact. This was, indeed, a "mosaic" fire.
Based on the recommendations of biologists and experience gained in the aftermath of the similar Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2002, the Commission chose not to change the number of deer and elk permits available this fall.
In their July 8 meeting, however, the Commission voted unanimously to reduce the number of fall turkey draw permits issued for the 2011 season to 200 (down from 675) in GMU 1 and to 300 (down from 900) in GMU 27 for a total reduction of 1,075 permits. According to Arizona Game and Fish Department's Game Branch Chief Brian Wakeling, the Wallow Fire damaged more than 75 percent of the primary turkey habitat in these two units. "To compound the conditions, the fire happened right when turkeys are coming off their nests, which can dramatically impact the flightless, young-of-the-year," he said.....