Tonto National Forest fire specialists are planning to conduct prescribed fire treatments west of the community of Whispering Pines on Thursday, February 23rd and Friday, February 24th. Weather conditions may provide an opportunity to burn 291 acres of vegetative debris piles located two miles west of Whispering Pines. During the day, smoke will move in a northeasterly direction impacting Rim Trail, Washington Park, Verde Glen, and Shadow Rim Girl Scout Ranch. During evening hours, residual smoke will impact Whispering Pines, Beaver Valley, East Verde River corridor, and Flowing Springs. Smoke may linger in these areas through Sunday, February 26, 2017.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell moderate-to-heavy amounts of smoke during the four-day treatment. Smoke may be visible from the Payson area. To minimize the impact of smoke, fire personnel will end ignitions each day by 2 pm. Signs will be posted on roads likely to be impacted by smoke. Motorists are urged to use caution and slow down for the safety of firefighters and the public.
Prescribed fire treatments are always dependent on conditions such as wind speed and direction, fuel moisture content, temperature, relative humidity and other variables. These treatments provide land managers with the important option of treating areas with fire during favorable conditions in order to protect natural and cultural resources while decreasing wildfire danger to the public and firefighters.
Since 2001, the Payson Ranger District has implemented a far-reaching, long-range, landscape-scale, three-pronged fuels reduction strategy. The goal is to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger, restore ecological systems, and to develop and foster sustainable forest conditions, wildlife habitat, and watersheds.