Tonto National Forest fire specialists will continue burning around Payson next week. Weather conditions permitting, fire specialists will conduct a 732 acre burn around the Knolls subdivision and Rim Golf club on Monday, Feb. 22. The burn will last thru Thursday, Feb. 25.
Smoke from this 732-acre burn will affect the Payson, Star Valley, and Round Valley communities. Smoke will linger in the area thru the weekend.
Once complete, fire personnel will move over to the junction of Forest Roads 198 and 199 and East of Shoofly Ruins. This 1,000-acre burn, located northeast of Payson, will affect the communities of Star Valley, Payson, Mesa Dell, Freedom Acres and Beaver Valley. Smoke may linger in the area through the weekend.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell moderate smoke during burning operations. Fire specialists will terminate ignitions by 4 p.m. each day to minimize the impact of smoke. Signs will be posted on roads likely to be affected by smoke. Motorists are urged to use caution and slow down for the safety of the public and firefighters, especially Forest Roads (FR) 198, the Pyeatt Draw Road and 199 during the day, and the Houston Mesa Road during evening hours when smoke will settle in the valley and limit visibility.
Prescribed fire treatments are always dependent on conditions such as wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content, and other variables. Broadcast treatments typically continue for several days are conducted when fuel moisture content of the vegetation and weather conditions are favorable. Low-to-moderate winds are needed to carry flames and dissipate smoke during and after burn operations to achieve beneficial effects sought by land managers.
Prescribed fire gives land managers the important option of treating areas with fire under favorable conditions, which helps to protect the natural and cultural resources, while decreasing danger to the public and firefighters. The growth, rate of spread, and smoke from a prescribed fire treatment is closely monitored. Aggressive suppression actions are taken if the fire displays behavior that does not meet resource management objectives.
In 2001, the Payson Ranger District began implementation of a far-reaching, long-range, landscape-scale, three-pronged fuels reduction strategy. The achievable goal is to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger in Rim Country, to initiate the restoration of natural ecological systems, and to develop and foster sustainable forest conditions, wildlife habitat, and watersheds.