Tonto National Forest crews will burn 500 acres either Tuesday, March 5 or Wednesday, March 6 off Forest Road 32 south of Verde Glen. Smoke in the treatment areas may linger through Sunday, March 10.
Residents and visitors can expect to see and smell moderate amounts of smoke during the prescribed fire treatment during the two-day operation.
Smoke will impact the communities of Verde Glen, Washington Park, Whispering Pines, Rim Trail and adjacent areas.
Nighttime air flow will move residual smoke down the East Verde corridor and will impact Beaver Valley, Flowing Springs and East Verde Estates.
Crews will post notices along roads likely to feel the effects of the smoke and urge motorists to use caution while driving through these areas and to slow down for the safety of firefighters and the public.
To mitigate the impact of smoke, fire ignitions will end each day by 3 pm.
Prescribed fire treatments are dependent on optimal weather conditions, such as fuel moisture content, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and other variables.
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.
“Prescribed fires give land managers and fire experts the important option of burning under the right conditions, allowing protection of valuable natural and cultural resources, while diminishing danger to the public and firefighters,” said Payson Ranger District fire prevention officer Gary Roberts.
“The growth, rate of spread, and smoke from a prescribed fire treatment are closely monitored. Aggressive suppression action is taken if the fire displays behavior that does not meet resource management objectives,” he concluded.
For more information, call the Payson Ranger District at (928) 474-7900. Residents can also stay updated on prescribed fires at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.