Wildland firefighters conducted more prescribed fire operations near Payson and Pine this week. Payson Ranger District conducted prescribed fire operations northwest of Payson in the Brushy Basin area early in the week. The 1,000-acre burn was approximately 5 to 6 miles northwest of Payson and 3 to 4 miles southeast of Pine. This operation was attempted last Monday, but cloudy conditions prevented good ignition conditions and only about 20 acres were treated.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see heavy volumes of smoke between the hours of 10 a.m. and sundown that will be very visible east of Highway 87 in the Buckhead Mesa area. Smoke from this prescribed burn operation will move in a northeasterly direction as it gets good lift to move up and over the Mogollon Rim. If weather conditions continue to meet prescription-burn requirements, debris piles will be burned in the Strawberry Mountain area, Hardscrabble Road area, and in the Pine fuel break on Thursday and Friday, March 5 and 6.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see light to moderate amounts of smoke that will move north during the day. Most smoke will dissipate by sundown. Air flow will move light, residual smoke in the evening hours into Pine.