Firefighters Plan Prescribed Burns Near Payson And Pine

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Wildland firefighters plan more prescribed fire operations southwest of Payson and in and around Pine Monday through Friday. Prescribed fires are always dependent on weather conditions.

Payson Ranger District firefighters are approved to conduct prescribed fire operations to mitigate dense brush southwest of Payson beginning Monday morning. Firefighters using ground resources will manage the 500-acre burn.

Residents and visitors will see moderate to heavy smoke volume from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., that is expected to move in a northeasterly direction. There should be little smoke by Monday evening.

Payson Ranger District firefighters are also approved to conduct prescribed fire operations to eliminate vegetative debris piles in and around Pine Monday through Friday. Residents and visitors can expect light to moderate smoke with most of the smoke dissipating by sundown. Residual smoke in the evening hours may settle in Pine Creek.

Firefighters will also conduct a prescribed broadcast burn in the Bray Creek area March 16. The 300-acre burn will generate moderate to heavy smoke during the operation. Most smoke cshould dissipate by sundown. Residual smoke will probably move down Bray Creek in the evening but is likely to linger for a few days.

On March 2, Payson Ranger District firefighters were able to enhance 1,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Buckhead Mesa area.

“From October 2008 to today we have treated 6,146 acres with prescribed fire,” said Gary Roberts, District Fire Prevention Officer. “This surpasses our original goal of 2,250 acres by a wide margin.”

For information on these prescribed fires, call the Payson Ranger District at (928) 474-7900.

Residents can also stay updated on forest prescribed burns at www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto. To report a wildland fire, the emergency number is (480) 457-1555, or (866) 746-6516.

Prescribe burn information

A prescribed burn allows fire managers to take advantage of fire’s natural function in the ecosystem – reducing accumulated fuels on the forest floor, recycling nutrients into the soil, and protecting the greater area from future high-intensity wildland fires.

Reintroducing fire to fire-dependent ecosystems benefits wildlife and livestock by creating more palatable and diverse vegetation. The burns are conducted to emulate natural fire patterns and create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas across the landscape.

Factors considered prior to each prescribed fire ignition include relative humidity, ideal temperature, wind speed and direction and fuel moisture content.

Optimum burning conditions are central to ensuring a prescribed fire accomplishes the fire hazard reduction and forest health objectives, including assurance that prescribed fire remains inside designated boundaries.

Before all prescribed burning operations, air approval is obtained from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to assure adequate smoke dispersal. Smoke management plans are necessary to minimize smoke in populated areas.

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