Friday, July 03, 2015

Better management of wildfires in Arizona

It's been a good year for fire management in Arizona, says AZGS geologist Dr. Ann Youberg. Ann is our resident expert on dealing with post-fire effects including debris flows, mudslides, and related hazards. She's often on the ground before the fires are out, working with state and federal forestry teams to assess the damage and potential for geologic hazards threatening people and property.

Ann says a lightning strike started a wildfire, the Camillo Fire, southeast of Mormon Lake on June 14th. [Right, Inciweb map of extent of Camilo fire. July 3, 2015] Because conditions were good within the forest, the Forest managed the fire for resources. This is now called Box and Burn. The Forest draws a box around the area within which the fire can continue to burn. These are low to moderate severity fires that are good for the ecosystem. The Fire Management team uses back burns to establish the exterior lines/boundaries and interior ignitions are used to get the fire to move into areas they particularly want burned within the box. This box was an astounding 46,000 acres. The Fire Management team released the final update; the fire “only” burned 23,866 acres. Although they didn’t get their whole box burned, having that much at low to moderate is awesome, to say the least. There were other Box and Burns around the state this June, due to the very nice weather we’ve had. Two were down in the Peloncillos, one is on the San Carlos Res, and another is on the Kaibab plateau.  There  may be others. All in all, a good fire year in Arizona so far.

Johnson Camp copper mine plans to resume operations, open 150 jobs

News reports say that the bankrupt Johnson Camp copper mine in Dragoon, could be sold by the court receiver by mid-July to a Hong Kong based company and reopened after that.  [Right, view of pit. Credit, Nord Resources]

The Willcox Range News says once the assets are sold for $8.4 million to Mars Resources LLC free and clear of liens and claim, the operation will produce 150 new jobs, and the company expects another $5 million in spending for goods and services.

Nord Resources described the Johnson Camp Mine, as an open pit "copper mine and production facility located 65 miles east of Tucson, Arizona. The property consists of 59 patented lode mining claims (889 acres), 92 unpatented lode mining claims (1,494 acres) and 509 acres of fee simple lands totaling 2,892 acres. The on-site copper production facility includes a 4,600 gallon per minute solvent extraction plant and tank farm, a 52,000 lb/day capacity electrowinning plant with 74 cells, 8 million gallons of solution storage and other related equipment."  

Governor appoints members to Oil & Gas Conservation Commission

Gov. Doug Ducey reappointed four members and one new member to the Arizona Oil & Gas Conservation Commission.  This is the first time in a number of years that all the positions are filled.

The AZOGCC consists of five members appointed by the Governor and one ex-officio member, the State Land Commissioner. The Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) provides administrative and staff support. Current Commission members include J. Dale Nations, Tucson, Chairman; Stephen R. Cooper, Casa Grande; William C. Feyerabend, Prescott Valley; Frank Thorwald, Sun City; Robert L. Wagner, Mesa; and Lisa Atkins, ex-officio member and State Land Commissioner.    

The Commission has no staff of its own, so the Arizona Geological Survey provides technical and administrative support to the Commission and carries out its decisions.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

AIPG seeking candidates for Executive Director

The American Institute of Professional Geologists is accepting applications for the position of Executive Director. The position is to be filled as soon as a qualified candidate is vetted. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Details can be found at