The Forest Service will burn 1,300 Rim Country acres this week, and the agency is warning residents to ready themselves for smoke.
The burns, scheduled to run from Monday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, Nov. 6, will encompass 800 acres east of Geronimo Estates and 500 acres west of Gordon Canyon Estates, located off the Colcord Road and between Gordon Canyon and Highway 260. Fire ignitions will end at both locations by 3 p.m. each day.
Residents and visitors to the Geronimo Estates area can expect to see and smell moderate to heavy amounts of smoke during each day of the operation.
“This is the season for smoky skies in the Rim Country,” said Gary Roberts, district fire prevention officer.
Over the next few months, the agency will burn during prime “windows” when good weather conditions allow the prescribed fires.
Prescribed fires depend on weather conditions such as temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content, wind speed and direction.
“We appreciate the patience and understanding of Rim Country residents as we continue to work to protect our Rim Country communities from catastrophic wildfire,” said Roberts.
Broadcast fire treatments typically continue for several days or weeks and generally are conducted when grasses have dried and cured and the weather is cooler. Windy conditions are often needed to carry flames in an open area to achieve beneficial effects desired by land managers. Wooded areas usually need less wind to accomplish the desired results from a broadcast fire treatment.
During the first half of this week, northeast winds will move smoke toward Payson during the day, Forest Service officials predict.
Later in the week, the agency predicts southwest winds will push smoke up and over the Mogollon Rim during the day. At night, diurnal air flow will move leftover smoke down Webber Creek toward the community of Geronimo Estates.
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.usda.gov/ Tonto. To report a wildland fire, the fire emergency number is (480) 457-1555 or (866) 746-6516.