Fire managers on the Alpine Ranger District are planning prescribed fire pile burns in two locations to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations. The piles that will be treated are composed of timber slash, branches, and small diameter poles that were created from thinning projects and prior wildfire suppression activities. Project burn dates, weather permitting, are planned for Dec. 4 through Dec. 8, 2023. Both project areas total 10 acres.
The Hannagan Misc. Piles project is located 18 miles south of Alpine near Forest Road 576 and the Hannagan Helispot. It includes hand piles that were constructed during the Horton wildfire in 2021. Piles were constructed by firefighters for road preparation during fire suppression efforts. Burning these piles will eliminate extra fuel loading and minimize the risk of high-severity wildfires near Forest Road 576. Smoke will be visible and may impact Highway 191. Drivers are cautioned that visibility may be reduced, especially in the overnight hours when smoke settles near the ground.
The South Mountain Misc Piles project is located 2 miles south of Alpine on South Mountain near the communication towers and Forest Road 403. These piles are a result of the Aspen thinning project that was completed after the Wallow fire. The Aspen project thinned hazard trees along Forest Road 403, and near the South Mountain communication towers to protect critical infrastructure. The piles left over from this project will be treated to eliminate cumulative fuel loading and reduce potential threats from wildfires. Smoke will be visible and may impact the community of Alpine and Highway 191. Drivers are urged to use caution if smoke impacts visibility.
Landscape treatments on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests align with the Forest Service's 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which aims to increase the use of fire on the landscape and other treatments to improve forest health.
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