Controlled Burns Will Generate Smoke This Week

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Payson Ranger District fire specialists will burn 3,000 debris piles on 200 acres in the Arrowhead Estates area on Tuesday or Wednesday, Feb. 19 or 20, southwest of where they burned debris piles on Feb. 14.

Crews will burn another 200 acres of debris piles later in the week in the R-C Boy Scout Camp near Kohl’s Ranch later in the week.

Residents can expect to see and smell moderate to heavy smoke during the one-day prescribed fire treatment. Nighttime air flow will move smoke down the East Verde corridor and will again impact the Tonto Natural Bridge area. Temperatures are warming, but cold, inert winter air will still play a factor in smoke hanging in the area.

“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,” said district fire prevention officer Gary Roberts. “We eliminated close to 3,080 debris piles in the Arrowhead Estates area on Feb. 14. That completes our pile elimination in that area.”

Crews will torch the debris piles in the R-C Boy Scout Camp area Wednesday or Thursday, Feb. 20 and 21. Residents can expect heavy smoke during the two-day operation, with smoke likely to obscure Highway 260. Smoke may linger in the area through Feb. 24.

Evening air flows will move the smoke down Tonto Creek and Kohl’s Ranch before it settles in Tonto Basin. Fire personnel will end ignitions by 3 p.m. each day.

Signs along roadways will urge motorists to use caution while driving through these areas and to slow down for the safety of firefighters and the public.

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