Fire managers plan to take advantage of winter weather conditions and will implement prescribed fire operations on the Rancho Allegre, Hidden, and Black Mesa administrative site slash piles. Piles are composed of timber slash created from thinning projects and are treated to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations. All ignitions are based on weather conditions and burning could commence anytime between Nov. 29 and Dec. 15, 2023.
The Rancho Allegre project area is 211 acres and is located north of Forest Road 300, between Forest Road 34 and Forest Road 84 in Willow Creek. The objective is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations around private inholdings and return the landscape to a more fire-resistant condition, aligning with the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy. Fire managers will only burn when weather conditions allow for minimal fire creep, thereby protecting the values at risk in the area. Smoke may be visible in nearby campgrounds and along Forest Road 34.
The Hidden project area is 62 acres and is located approximately 3 miles west of Forest Lakes on the north side of Highway 260. The piles are the result of the Hidden timber stand improvement/fuels reduction treatment in the area. The goal is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and minimize the risk of high-severity wildfires. Weather conditions, such as snowfall, will determine the timing of ignitions. Smoke and fire will be visible from Highway 260, and fire managers will monitor air quality conditions in and near the community of Forest Lakes. Smoke may reduce visibility and drivers should take extra precautions.
The Black Mesa administrative site slash piles sit on 1 acre of land and are located near the Black Mesa Ranger District office at 2748 Highway 260 in Overgaard, Arizona. Smoke is expected to impact the community of Heber-Overgaard and Highway 260. Drivers are cautioned that smoke may cause reduced visibility in the area. These piles are composed of pine needle and brush that has accumulated around the administrative site.
Air quality information is available at https://www.airnow.gov/. Visit the A-S National Forests website and follow us on Facebook and X (Twitter).