Fire specialists plan to burn 58 acres of vegetative piles Feb. 13-14 in the Washington Park area north of Payson.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell light-to-moderate amounts of smoke during the two-day prescribed fire. Smoke will impact the Washington Park area during the day. In the evening, smoke will impact the Rim Trail, Verde Glen, Shadow Rim Girl Scout Ranch, Washington Park sub-division, and Beaver Valley communities.
Residual smoke may linger in these areas through Feb. 19. To minimize smoke impacts, fire personnel plan to end ignitions by 3 p.m. each day.
Signs will be posted on roads likely to be affected by smoke. The Forest Service urges motorists to use caution when driving through the area, and to slow down for the safety of firefighters working in the area as well as the public.
Prescribed fires, also known as prescribed burns or controlled burns, refer to the controlled application of fire by a team of fire experts under specified weather conditions that helps restore health to ecosystems that depend on fire. Weather conditions — including temperature, wind speed and direction, fuel moisture content, and relative humidity — as well as topography, fuel types and equipment all determine how a prescribed fire is conducted.
Prescribed fires help reduce the catastrophic damage of wildfire on lands and surrounding communities by:
• Safely reducing excessive amounts of brush, shrubs and trees
• Encouraging the new growth of native vegetation
• Maintaining the many plant and animal species whose habitats depend on periodic fire
Fire specialists will monitor the growth, rate of spread, and smoke from the upcoming prescribed burn. Aggressive suppression actions will be taken if the fire displays behavior that does not meet resource management objectives.