For the past few weeks, Forest Service workers have lit hundreds of debris piles to thin heavily overgrown forests and create defensible spaces around Rim Country communities.
The work continues this week, with prescribed fires planned from Tuesday, March 9 through Thursday, March 11.
The prescribed fires will eliminate 40 remaining acres of vegetative debris piles on the west side of Pine and about 50 acres of debris piles on the southeast corner of Pine, announced Tonto National Forest officials.
“In the past few weeks, we have worked in and around the Pine area, as weather permitted, to successfully eliminate hundreds of acres of vegetative debris piles with prescribed fire. It was a huge task and we have almost completed the elimination of debris piles in the Pine area,” stated Gary Roberts, fire prevention officer. Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see moderate amounts of smoke through the week. During the day, most smoke will loft up and move over the Mogollon Rim. Diurnal air flow in the evening hours will move residual smoke down Pine Creek where it may settle due to cold, inert winter air. Crews will end pile ignitions each day by 2 p.m.
“This will conclude the lion’s share of debris pile elimination in the Pine area for this year and well into the future,” Roberts said. “All that remains to be eliminated are piles located on north-facing slopes and in drainages that are still covered in snow. As conditions warrant, we will eliminate the few remaining debris piles.”
Another 20 acres of debris piles in and around the Whispering Pines area will also be lit during the week. Residents and visitors can expect to see light to moderate amounts of smoke during the day. Little to no residual smoke is anticipated in this area during the evening hours.