Recently, a Roundup reader reached out to the editorial staff regarding an article about the USAF proposal to change altitudes and some operations in some of the military operating areas (MOA) in Arizona.

The reader said the article contained a major mistake, “The request, if approved, would allow the USAF to fly lower in the airspace above Payson ...” The reader wrote, “None of the MOAs in the proposal are over Payson. Payson actually does not have any MOAs in the airspace above.”

The initial source for the article was a notice from Gila County, which read in part, “... many ascribe devastating wildfires such as the Telegraph Fire to aerial incendiaries fired during USAF and National Guard training flights ... if the so-called ‘Jackal’ region of airspace includes Payson and Rim Country ... Should the U.S. Air Force be allowed to fly lower in the airspace above Globe-Miami and the Pinal Mountains, firing aerial flares at even lower altitudes? So many local residents had passionate opinions on this issue that a prior deadline has been extended to June 3 for written comments on proposed changes to several Air Force ‘managed MOAs’ that include airspace referred to as the Jackal region — which includes Globe. Read specifics at arizonaregionalairspaceeis.com.

Four alternatives are proposed; the Gila County Board of Supervisors voted to send a letter endorsing alternative 1 — no action or changes, maintaining the present “subsonic floor.”

Public meetings were held during February before a March deadline to submit written comments — which was extended through June 3 to accommodate overflow interest in the issue.

The Board of Supervisors, in discussing the extended comment period, also stated the proposed changes could impact Payson and the Rim Country.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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