Tonto National Forest fire specialists are planning to conduct a 2,000 acres prescribed fire treatment in the Shoofly area, just north of Payson, beginning on Tuesday, October 10 through Friday, October 20, 2017. This treatment will eliminate timber slash, dead and down woody debris, grass and brush. During the day, smoke will impact the communities of Mesa del Caballo and Freedom Acres. During evening hours, residual smoke will travel down the East Verde Corridor and will impact the communities of Beaver Valley, Flowing Springs, E. Verde Estate, Star Valley and Whispering Pines. Smoke may linger in these areas through Sunday, October 22, 2017.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell moderate amounts of 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. The Houston Mesa Road (FR199), Pyeatt Draw Road (FR198), FR1171, and FR1161 will be especially 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 and fuel moisture content are favorable. 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.
Since 2001, the Payson Ranger District has been focusing on cost-effective fire prevention, fire suppression, and prescribed fire strategies to support healthy forest landscapes and reduce catastrophic wildfire danger while protecting and enhancing natural resources and watersheds on the district.