The Clifton Ranger District on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests plans to begin the Mesa Re-Entry prescribed burn on April 2. The project will be ongoing until May 4, depending on weather conditions.
The 7,471 acre burn area is bounded to the north and west by Pine Flat Rd (Forest Service Road (FSR) 515), to the south by Upper Eagle Creek Rd (FSR 215), and to the east by Sheep Wash Canyon.
Fuel types include grass, juniper, oak, pinyon pine, and ponderosa pine. The burn is intended to reduce canopy cover and maintain areas of reduced canopy cover achieved in past prescribed burns. It will also reduce juniper re-sprouts and enhance mule deer, white-tail deer, turkey, pronghorn antelope, and javelina habitat. Prescribed burning enhances wildlife habitat and watershed conditions, while promoting forest health and protecting communities from the effects of future high severity wildfire.
Smoke will be visible from Morenci, the community of Eagle Creek, and U.S. Highway 191. Motorists are advised to drive safely when approaching areas where prescribed fire activities may limit visibility and/or hinder fire personnel operations.
Every prescribed fire, thinning or other fuels treatments implemented by the Forest Service is run through National Environmental Process Act (NEPA). The NEPA process directs agency specialists to analyze proposed treatments and perform an action/no action comparison. Specialists examine the direct, indirect and potential cumulative effects of a proposed treatment and then these results are made available for public comment. The outcome of this process will either direct the project forward or alter proposed treatments for the project.
All prescribed burns are approved through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) before ignition begins. The ADEQ monitors air quality and determines whether or not it will be a good day for smoke dispersion. Although smoke from prescribed fire can still be noticeable, it is usually for a shorter time and considerably less smoke than wildfires produce. If you are sensitive to smoke or have respiratory problems, stay indoors if possible.
Questions or concerns contact Justin Thompson on the Clifton Ranger District at 928-687-8613 or visit the ASNFs website at: www.fs.usda.gov/asnf