Fire crews in the Payson Ranger District use controlled burns to reduce the threat of wildfires to local communities.
Payson Ranger District fire crews will burn debris piles in the Verde Glen and Thompson Draw II areas all this week, which could mean smokey afternoons.
Crews will burn 150 piles of debris in Verde Glen, east of Verde Glen and Rim Trail. Fire personnel will reduce the impact of smoke by ending ignitions by 3 p.m. each day. Still, residents will see and smell moderate to heavy amounts of smoke that may linger in the area through Friday, Feb. 8.
At night, smoke may sink down into the East Verde corridor and will impact the communities of Verde Glen, Rim Trail, Washington Park, Whispering Pines, Beaver Valley, Flowing Springs, East Verde Estates and adjacent areas.
“The cold, inert winter air will impact these communities with heavy smoke,” said Gary Roberts, district fire prevention officer. “We appreciate the understanding and support of residents and property owners as we work to protect areas like this from the very real threat of wildfire.”
Thompson Draw II — Ignitions will continue Wednesday and Thursday (Feb. 6 and 7) to eliminate 3 to 5 acres of debris piles in the Thompson Draw II area.
Residents and visitors to this area can expect to see and smell light amounts of smoke during the operation. Crews will post signs along roads that are likely to be affected by smoke. Motorists are urged to use caution while driving through these areas and to slow down for the safety of firefighters and the public.
Prescribed fire treatments depend on optimal weather conditions, such as fuel moisture content, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and directions, and other variables. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality approves the timing of the burns to protect the health of people in the area.
For further information, please call the Payson Ranger District at (928) 474-7900. Residents can also stay updated on prescribed fires at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.