/ Modified aug 28, 2015 3:53 p.m.

METRO WEEK: Wildfire's Effect on Environment, Bighorn Sheep

How the Finger Rock Fire will affect the ecosystem and animals that depend on it

The Finger Rock Fire on the south slope of the Santa Catalina Mountains this month cleared away thick vegetation that used to have more frequent cycles of fire and growth.

Coronado National Forest fire managers decided not to fight the fire because it was in steep, rugged terrain and was not a threat to humans or structures. It cleared vegetation and could help the herd of Bighorn Sheep that were relocated to the Catalinas in the last two years thrive.

In this episode of Metro Week:

  • AZPM's Zac Ziegler interviews Heidi Schewel of the Coronado National Forest about its fire management strategy for Finger Rock and similar fires. AZPM staff hike the Finger Rock Trail to show the burned areas compared to the thickly vegetated areas the fire did not reach. New growth is already visible.

  • AZPM's Vanessa Barchfield interviews Mark Hart of the Arizona Game and Fish Department about the effect of the fire on the relocated bighorns, and the status of the relocation project.

  • In the journalists roundtable, Barchfield expands on pneumonia in the bighorn population, Ziegler talks about his experience at the site of the now-extinguished fire, Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star discusses the latest on the Sun Tran bus strike, and David Rupkalvis of Tucson Local Media shares perspective on the economic impact of education in southern Arizona.

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