Firefighters plan to conduct prescribed fire operations on the Springerville Ranger District beginning Nov. 7, 2023. The Pole Knoll project area is 2,020 acres and is 8 miles northwest of Greer. The project is surrounded by a significant road and trail system with boundaries along Forest Road 112 on the west, Forest Road 8589 to the south, Forest Road 8590 to the east, and State Highway 260 as the northern boundary. Firefighters will utilize a network of recreational hiking trails as holding features to keep fire within project boundaries. As a result, recreational trail systems may be impacted by prescribed fire activities.
This is an initial entry prescribed fire, which means fire has not been through the area in a very long time, resulting in denser fuels and therefore thicker smoke during this treatment. However, meeting the goals of the Forest Service's 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy (WCS) means implementing prescribed fire and other fuels treatments during all advantageous environmental conditions. The trade-off is to experience short-term smoke conditions from prescribed fires versus heavier smoke over a longer duration from unwanted high-severity wildfires. The long-term intent is to reduce smoke impacts and fire intensity if a future wildfire starts in this project area.
To provide for public and firefighter safety, the public is advised not to enter the Pole Knoll recreation area. Drivers are cautioned to be aware that smoke may impact visibility along Highways 260, 60 and 373, especially in the overnight hours. Smoke may impact the communities of Vernon, Greer, Springerville and Eagar. Air quality information is available at https://www.airnow.gov/.
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.
Visit the A-S National Forests website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/asnf and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/apachesitgreavesnfs.