Springerville — The arrival of fall on the forests typically means cooler temperatures, changing colors, and the start of the prescribed burning season. Prescribed burns help remove excess and hazardous fuels from the forests, and it is one tool the Forest Service uses to make these lands more resilient to wildfires.
This year, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs) plan to conduct several prescribed burns in both remote areas of the forests and in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) or areas near populated communities.
The ASNFs will use two methods of prescribed burning — pile and broadcast. Pile burning, as the name suggests, involves burning piles of woody slash gathered from different fuel treatments such as tree thinning. For a broadcast burn, a fire is intentionally ignited by fire managers, and it is allowed to burn over a designated area with well-defined boundaries.
Prescribed burns take place only after careful and extensive planning, which includes coordination with local fire departments.
Fire managers only conduct burning activities when certain conditions are met which limit the effects of smoke and the risk of the fire escaping. In addition, fire managers continuously monitor weather conditions as this can often change the progress and outcome of the burn.
The following is a list of the prescribed burns planned to take place this fall/winter season. The exact dates for burning activities will depend on current ground conditions.
• Alpine Ranger District (928) 339-5000 — Pile burning will take place directly south and west of Alpine and southwest of Nutrioso. Broadcast burning will take place west of Buffalo Crossing in the PS Knoll area (approx. 800 acres); it may also take place in the Alpine WUI directly south and west of Alpine. Smoke may impact the communities of Alpine and Nutrioso and travelers on U.S. Highways 191 and 180.
• Black Mesa Ranger District (928) 535-7300 — Pile burning will take place in multiple areas across the district; however, much of it will occur in the Dutch Joe area along Forest Road 32 and in the Gentry Lookout area along Forest Roads 300 and 52. It will also take place southwest of Heber-Overgaard on the outskirts of town. Smoke may impact the communities of Forest Lakes, Heber-Overgaard, Holbrook, Snowflake and Winslow, and travelers on State Highway 260.
For more information call (928) 333-3412.