The old Dude Fire burn area and the Gibson Creek area will be sites of prescribed burns scheduled to begin sometime between mid-January and the end of March.
A broadcast burn of roughly 445 acres to diminish grass, brush and downed logs will be conducted at the old Dude Fire burn area west of Dude Creek and north of the Highline Trail and will take about one day to accomplish.
The burn is joint-funded with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
A broadcast burn of roughly 2,300 acres to accomplish the same objectives will be conducted in the Gibson Creek area in Round Valley. Depending on conditions, the burn could take from one to seven days to complete and the days may not be consecutive.
This burn is joint-funded with Arizona Game & Fish.
Both burns will take place only when optimal conditions are present. This determination is based on such factors as temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and fuel moisture content.
Prescribed burning is a valuable management tool used by the Forest Service to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger and to enhance forest health by accelerating decomposition of debris on the forest floor, reducing woody plant competition, improving wildlife habitat and watersheds, and stimulating nutrient release to improve soil qualities.
"One of the primary benefits of doing a prescribed burn is that it does so much more for the soil and environment than just mechanically thinning," District Fire Prevention Officer Gary Roberts said. "We can remove trees mechanically, but we don't put benefits back into the soil. A prescribed burn helps to accelerate decomposition of debris on the forest floor and it helps us to stimulate nutrient release into the soil."
For more information, call the Payson Ranger District office at 474-7900.