A prescribed fire operation is planned by Tonto National Forest fire specialists for Dec. 13-17 approximately seven miles northeast of the community of Punkin Center.
The prescribed fire is designed to reduce the potential for large, catastrophic wildfires by targeting decadent stands of brush throughout the 17,000-acre project area.
The goal is to treat 3,500 acres per year over the next several years.
“Completion of the project will be dependent on weather conditions, which can change rapidly this time of year,” said Mike Behrens, fire management officer.
“If conditions stay relatively warm and dry, the operation will be completed in one day. Smoke will be visible during the day from Payson to Tonto Basin, but should clear off quickly after sunset.”
Re-introducing fire to fire-dependent ecosystems benefits wildlife and livestock by creating more palatable and diverse vegetation. The burn will be conducted to emulate natural fire patterns and create a mosaic of burned and unburned areas.
For more information about the prescribed fire, call 928-467-3200.