Residents Will See Smoke From Prescribed Burns This Week

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With much-needed precipitation arriving in the Rim Country, Payson Ranger District wildland fire personnel will begin burning vegetative debris piles today, Tuesday, if ideal conditions are present.

The primary areas targeted for burning debris piles (each weighing from half-a-ton to a ton-and-a-half) will be around the Payson Airport and south of Mud Springs Road. Residents may expect relatively light smoke from the operation.

Annual prescribed burning operations were suspended in the Payson Ranger District on Nov. 29, 2006, when conditions became less than ideal and went out of "prescription." Prescribed burning did not resume until January 2007, when the right conditions of temperature, fuel moisture content, relative humidity, wind speed and direction returned.

The Payson Hotshots removed brush northwest of Payson toward East Verde Park on about 70 acres. Those piles of brush were burned on Jan. 8, 9 and 10 to secure power lines in the area.

In October and November, until prescribed burning was suspended and then resumed Jan. 8, fire personnel successfully treated 989 acres in Rim Country with prescribed fire.

Prescribed burning is just one component in the Payson Ranger District's far-reaching, long-range, landscape-scale, three-pronged fuels reduction strategy that was initially implemented in 2001. Each fall, Payson Ranger District fire personnel conduct prescribed burning on the Payson Ranger District to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger in the Mogollon Rim Country.

Historically, December, January and February are the best months for burning debris piles. The growth, spread and smoke from prescribed burning are closely monitored. Aggressive suppression actions are taken if the fire displays behavior that does not meet resource management objectives.

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