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Smoke plumes rose from the north end of Payson this week.

The U.S. Forest Service burned 33 acres of vegetative debris Wednesday and Thursday north of Home Depot on the west side of State Route 87.

Residents saw and smelled smoke during the two-day prescribed operation.

Besides the burn area, smoke impacted Flowing Springs, Mesa del Caballo and Freedom Acres during the day. In the evening, smoke was expected to hover from the burn area to East Verde Estates.

Residual smoke may linger through Saturday.

Tonto officials note that they received permission to conduct prescribed fire burns in specific areas on the forest despite the ongoing legal matter involving a court-ordered injunction on select timber management activities for New Mexico national forests as well as the Tonto National Forest regarding potential effects to the Mexican spotted owl.

These burns enhance range, watershed, and wildlife habitat.

Prescribed fires always depend on the right conditions which include temperature, wind speed and direction, fuel moisture content, and relative humidity.

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