Less-Than-Ideal Conditions Stall Prescribed Burn Northwest Of Whispering Pines


Payson Ranger District fire personnel suspended prescribed burning operations in an area along Forest Road 438 on Monday, Nov. 6.

The area was scheduled for "first-entry" treatment, but warmer and drier conditions than anticipated, as well as winds from the north, shut down the operation at .25 acres.

An area receiving treatment for the first time (first-entry) will burn more intensely than an area that has received prior thinning or prescribed fire. Fire personnel took advantage of the shift in conditions to conduct a low-intensity maintenance burn of 80 acres in another area about a mile away.

Smoke seen in the skies above Rim country during the week of Nov. 6, was generated by prescribed burns being conducted on the Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves.

If ideal conditions of temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content, wind speed, etc. reappear, Payson Ranger District fire personnel will return to resume a broadcast burn of approximately 310 acres in an area northwest of Whispering Pines beginning Monday, Nov. 13.

Residents, property owners and visitors to Rim Country can expect to see significant smoke for up to a week, with most smoke visibility likely to occur during Monday and Tuesday. The smoke will not only be visible during the day, but it is also expected to settle into drainages in the evening.

Shadow Rim, Washington Park, Verde Glen and Rim Trail will also experience the most impact from the operation.

Broadcast burning allows fire managers the important option of burning under the right conditions to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger by reducing debris off the forest floor from about 20-22 tons per acre to about five to seven tons per acre.

Broadcast burning is very similar to a low-intensity fire that is naturally ignited by lightning.

It diminishes woody plant competition, accelerates debris decomposition on the forest floor, and stimulates nutrient release back into the soil, thus making it a more fertile and vital soil.

Burning under the right conditions also affords protection of valuable natural and cultural resources.

Additionally, it decreases danger to the public and firefighters.

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