Prescribed Fire Will Take Place Near Payson

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Prescribed fire operations are planned for Tuesday, March 16 through Friday, March 19. This week’s prescribed fire operations are aimed at eliminating about 40 remaining acres of vegetative debris piles on the west side of Pine, and about 50 acres of remaining debris piles on the southeast corner of Pine, announced Tonto National Forest officials today.

Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see moderate amounts of smoke each day of the prescribed fires.

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. The pile ignition will cease each day by 2 p.m.

About 20 acres of vegetative debris piles in and around the Whispering Pines area are also targeted, March16-19. Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see light to moderate amounts of smoke during the prescribed fire operation. Ignition will cease by 2 p.m. Little to no residual smoke is anticipated in this area during the evening hours due to this prescribed fire activity.

“The storm this past week prevented us from eliminating the piles we had targeted,” stated Gary Roberts, Fire Prevention officer. “We are now hoping to return to the project we had hoped to complete last week.”

“All that remains to be eliminated after next week’s efforts, if successful, 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.”

Prescribed fire operations are always dependent on optimum weather conditions such as temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content, and wind speed and direction prior to ignition.

For information about prescribed fire and mechanical fuels reduction operations, please call the Payson Ranger District at 928-474-7900. Residents can also stay updated on forest prescribed fires at www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto. To report a wildland fire, the fire emergency number is 480-457-1555, or 866-746-6516.

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