Fire officials on the Payson Ranger District are preparing for prescribed fire operations to burn debris piles near Christopher Creek Campground beginning Tuesday, Dec. 6-10, 2022.
The purpose of this 107-acre prescribed fire is to reduce the risk of destructive wildfires to surrounding communities, ranches and critical infrastructure. Additionally, prescribed fires restore natural ecological systems and landscapes, and develop and foster sustainable forest conditions for wildlife habitat and watersheds.
Fire specialists anticipate moderate smoke during ignitions to impact State Highway 260, Hunter Creek, R/C Boy Scout Camp, Christopher Creek and Christopher Creek Campground. Officials urge motorists to use extreme caution while driving through these areas and to slow down for the safety of firefighters and the public.
To minimize the impact of smoke from these operations, fire specialists will terminate ignitions by 3 p.m. Nighttime smoke will impact the communities of Bear Flats, Kohls Ranch, Hunter Creek and Gisela.
Tonto National Forest fire and fuel specialists build prescribed burn plans using the most up-to-date science and modeling along with their combined on the ground fire and fuels experience. Prescribed fire treatments take place when fuel moisture content and weather conditions are favorable. While prescribed burns are effective at reducing hazardous fuels, there are risks, and fire specialists take every precaution to conduct prescribed fire operations safely.
The Tonto’s land management strategy is centered on long-term forest health and that strategy includes reducing forest fuels and using prescribed burning on the landscape. Affected communities should remain aware of smoke advisories and conditions. Learn more about smoke impacts on the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality website.
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