Rain and snow stalled major controlled burns planned Monday and Tuesday, but forest crews will likely set some of the last and biggest fires of the fall toward the end of the week — depending on the weather.
Before the storm front arrived on Monday, the Forest Service had planned to burn about 200 acres of debris piles every day this week.
If it snows heavily on Monday or Tuesday, the debris piles may prove too damp to torch.
However, Forest Service crews hope they can burn, since no burns will take place for the next two weeks. By January, it could be too wet to allow for the kind of regular burns needed to make additional progress on creating a buffer zone around Rim communities.
Last week, the Forest Service burned hundreds of acres on the outskirts of town. Thanks to still air and unexpected wind patterns, those fires sent smoke drifting into town off and on through the week — alarming some residents and irritating others.
“I hate it, it stinks,” said one woman standing in front of a shop in the Swiss Village, peering out across a highway through a haze to match Los Angeles on a bad day.
“Guess it beats having the town burn down,” said her companion glumly.
“I guess,” she said, barely mollified.
The Forest Service all week continued its push to burn as many overgrown acres as possible on the outskirts of Payson, Pine, Strawberry and Star Valley.
Residents could face similar conditions by the end of this week, if things dry out as predicted.