The lightning caused Browns Fire was reported July 26, at 2:15 p.m. It is burning on the north side of Browns Peak in the Four Peaks Wilderness Area, 10 miles south of Tonto Basin.
The fire is being managed for resource benefit and has grown to 895 acres over the past two and a half weeks. It is burning in chaparral brush and pinyon-juniper fuel types. The fire has been slowly backing down both sides of the Four Peaks ridge consuming dead and down fuels left from the 1996 Lone Fire.
The fire area received over an inch of rain from Monday’s storm. Fire activity has been minimal with only one interior smoke reported by fire crews this afternoon
Fire personnel continue to clear fallen trees from hiking trails and are removing hazard trees that could endanger the public.
The area closure will remain in place until crews complete the hazard tree removal along the trails.
The closure affects the following areas and trails; Forest Road (FR) 648, Lone Pine Trailhead, Forest Trail (FT) 130 (Four Peaks Trail), FT 133 (Browns Trail) and FT 134 (Pigeon Trail).
Due to the location and recent monsoonal moisture, the fire poses no immediate risk to life, safety, property or resources.
Management for resource benefit minimizes risk and exposure to firefighters in addition the wildfire will improve and benefit natural resources. Benefits to natural resources derived from these types of fires include:
- Reduction of heavy fuel loading that diminishes the threat of catastrophic wildfire.
- Reintroduction of fire into the landscape to perform its historical role of cleaning the forest floor of dead and down vegetation, eliminating sickly trees, which helps healthy trees that survived the Lone fire.
- Raising the crown base height. The crown base simply means the lowest limbs on an individual tree that would allow a ground fire to climb into those limbs and transition the fire vertically up into the tree to create a crown fire.
- Recycling valuable nutrients back into the soil.
- Maintaining and improving wildlife habitat.
Visitors and residents will see light-to-moderate smoke from the surrounding communities and as far away at Payson. The possibility of smoke settling in the Tonto Basin area overnight exists.
For further information, please call the Tonto Basin Ranger District at 928-467-3200. Residents can also stay updated on prescribed fires at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto. To report a wildland fire, the fire emergency number is 866-746-6516, or dial 9-1-1.