Beginning in late March, if weather conditions permit, the U.S. Forest Service is planning to conduct a large prescribed burn in the Tonto Basin area.
The 17,000-acre Del Shay Burn is located approximately seven miles northeast of Punkin Center near the Del Shay Basin. The burn is designed to reduce the potential for large, catastrophic wildfires by targeting decadent stands of brush.
Re-introducing fire to fire-dependent ecosystems also benefits wildlife and livestock by creating more palatable and diverse vegetation.
The burn will be conducted in such a manner as to emulate natural fire patterns and create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas across the landscape. The goal is to treat approximately 3,500 acres per year over the next several years.
Fire officials expect that smoke will be visible during the day from Payson to Tonto Basin, but should clear off quickly after sunset.
If you have any questions about the Del Shay prescribed burn, please contact the Tonto Basin Ranger District at (928) 467-3200.