Fire managers are planning to implement the Pierce prescribed fire on the Black Mesa Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests starting September 26 and continuing through September 28. The 3,044-acre prescribed fire is located 1.5 miles south of Heber-Overgaard off Forest Road 51.
The tentative date range for ignitions is Tuesday, Sept. 26 through Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. Hand and possibly aerial ignitions (helicopter with Plastic Sphere Dispenser machine) will be used during operations. Agency administrators must approve the day’s plan every 24 hours before ignitions on multi-day projects can continue.
Smoke will be visible from the town of Heber-Overgaard and surrounding communities. Potential smoke impacts to Heber-Overgaard and surrounding communities and AZ Highway 260 are possible. Air quality information is available at https://www.airnow.gov/.
Fire crews will be using Forest Road 51, Forest Road 166, Forest Road 125, Forest Road 124 for project boundaries. The Forest Service asks that the public please stay out of the project area during and after ignitions for the safety of the public and firefighters.
Fire crews are assessing fuels and weather conditions to determine whether the projects will begin. If environmental conditions are not appropriate (temperature, wind, humidity) the prescribed fire will be canceled. Extra resources will be available and able to respond if needed until the prescribed fire is declared secure by the burn boss. The project area will be patrolled until the fire is out. Weather will continue to be monitored for any weather events that may require more resources.
Prescribed fires are an effective tool for restoring fire-dependent ecosystems and reducing the risk of high-severity wildfires. Fire managers use prescribed fire to improve forest health, remove hazardous fuels, increase firefighter safety, enhance wildlife habitat, and protect communities and watersheds. These efforts align with the Forest Service's 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which aims to increase the use of fire on the landscape as well as other treatments to improve forest resiliency for generations to come.
Visit the A-S National Forests website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/asnf and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/apachesitgreavesnfs