Tonto National Forest firefighters will begin a two-day, 2-acre prescribed fire on the Mesa Ranger District beginning Jan. 24.
Firefighters will burn piles containing dead brush and limbs to reduce hazardous fuels in high-use administrative sites and recreational areas near the Lower Salt River, Saguaro Ranch, Tortilla Flat and Canyon Lake.
Removal of these ground fuels will improve three watersheds: the Lower Salt River along with Saguaro and Canyon Lakes. Prescribed fires aid watersheds by reducing the risk of large-scale wildland fires. Burned watersheds are prone to increased flooding and erosion, which can negatively affect water-supply reservoirs, water quality, and drinking-water treatment processes.
In addition to watershed improvement, these treatments improve plant and wildlife habitat to increase biodiversity for wildlife corridors. Prescribed fires also help protect culturally significant native foods and plants, improve timber stands and recreational opportunities, and reduce the threat of invasive species on the landscape.
Prescribed fire operations are part of the USDA Forest Service’s overarching wildfire crisis strategy to reduce wildfire risk to people, communities, and natural resources while sustaining and restoring healthy, resilient fire-adapted forests. For more information about the Forest Service’s 10-year strategy to address the wildfire crisis, visit the Confronting the Wildfire Crisis web page.
For additional information, contact the Mesa Ranger Station located at 5140 E. Ingram Street, Mesa, Arizona. Or phone the station at (480) 610-3300 Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. and noon and from 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
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