As part of the Forest’s ongoing strategy to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger in Rim County, Tonto National Forest fire specialists are planning to conduct a 1,479-acre broadcast prescribed fire treatment in the Clay Springs area between forest roads 411 and 128. Ignitions will commence on Monday, November 6, 2017, and continue through Wednesday, November 8, 2017. This treatment will eliminate timber slash, dead and down woody debris, grass and brush. During the day, smoke will impact Forest Lakes, 512 Road, commonly called the Young Road, the OW Ranch, and State Highway 260. Residual smoke in the evening will impact Colcord Estates, Ponderosa Springs, Gordon Canyon, Young, and the OW Ranch. Smoke may linger in these areas through Sunday, November 12, 2017.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell heavy smoke during these prescribed fire operations. To minimize the impact of smoke, fire personnel will end ignitions each day by 3 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.
Broadcast fire treatments typically continue for several days and are conducted when weather conditions including wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity and fuel moisture conditions are favorable. This allows land managers the ability to protect natural and cultural resources, while diminishing danger to the public and firefighters. Low-to-moderate winds are needed to carry flames and dissipate smoke during and after ignitions in order to achieve the beneficial effects sought by land managers. The growth, rate of spread, and smoke from a prescribed fire treatment is closely monitored. Aggressive suppression action is taken if the fire displays behavior that does not meet resource management objectives.
Since 2001, the Payson Ranger District has been focusing on implementing a far reaching, long range, landscape scale, three-prong fuels reduction strategy. The achievable goal is to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger in Rim country, and to initiate restoration of natural ecological process, and to develop and foster sustainable forest landscapes, wildlife habitat and watersheds.