The Black Mesa Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests has begun the fall and winter prescribed burning program in areas throughout the district.
Prescribed fire methods will be both pile and broadcast burning.
Many fuel treatments, which include timber harvesting, tree thinning, chaining, and crushing, create slash that is piled and burned to reduce excess fuel accumulations and lessen adverse effects caused by wildfire.
Prescribed burning is another effective method of reducing hazardous fuels that could carry a wildfire to catastrophic proportions.
It is important to reintroduce fire back into the landscape to help preserve the natural pine ecosystem that so many people love to visit, forest officials said.
The Black Mesa Ranger District boundary is the top of the Mogollon Rim to the west, Pinedale Ridge to the east, and FR 300 to the south.
The northern boundary of the District stair-steps west to east from FR 63A to the northern reach of FR 147, just before it intersects with State Route 277, the road to Snowflake/Taylor.
Residents living in the communities of Heber-Overgaard, Forest Lakes to the west and Clay Springs to the east can expect to see and smell smoke on days that burning operations are being conducted.
Travelers on State Route 260 will be affected, as well. The District fire staff will post signs on the highway during burning activities. Residents of southern Navajo and Apache counties may dial "593" for recorded information about prescribed fires in the area.