When the temperatures drop, the Forest Service ramps up the use of prescribed burns.

The Black Mesa Ranger District on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests recently conducted prescribed burns near the Rim Lakes off Forest Road 300. And through today, the Mogollon Rim Ranger District on the Coconino National Forest is conducting prescribed burns near Blue Ridge.

Residents in the communities of Forest Lakes, Christopher Creek, Young, Colcord Estates, Heber-Overgaard and Blue Ridge may have seen smoke as well as motorists on State Routes 260 and 87.

“You have probably noticed smoke in Rim Country skies recently. Fall, winter and early spring is when national forests in Arizona hustle to conduct prescribed fire treatments when variables allow,” said Gary Roberts, north zone fire prevention officer for Payson and Pleasant Valley ranger districts. “Thus, ’tis the season for smoky skies in Rim Country.”

The Crook Prescribed Burn Block on the Rim included approximately 1,659 acres. The Victorine prescribed burn near Blue Ridge includes 1,000 acres.

Crews were scheduled to burn near the Rim Road Nov. 5 through Nov. 15, but had to hold off due to unfavorable conditions. The burns were rescheduled to start Nov. 14.

This prescribed burn was a follow up to previous treatments.

Officials say smoke may be visible for up to one week after ignitions are complete.

Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease were encouraged to take precautionary measures.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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