Tonto National Forest fire specialists plan to conduct a 1,247-acre prescribed fire treatment in the Shoofly ruins area north of Payson from Monday, November 13, through Thursday, November 16, 2017.
The prescribed fire will eliminate timber slash, dead and down woody debris, grass and brush.
The treatment will take place on the east side of Houston Mesa Road (Forest Road 199). During the day, smoke will impact Houston Mesa Road as well as the following communities: Freedom Acres, Beaver Valley, Whispering Pines and Cold Springs. During evening hours, residual smoke will impact the communities of Star Valley, Payson, Diamond Point Shadows, Flowing Springs, East Verde Estates and Mesa del Caballo. Smoke may linger in these areas through Sunday, November 19, 2017.
Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell moderate amounts of smoke during the prescribed fire treatment. To minimize the impact of smoke, fire personnel will end ignitions each day by 3 p.m. Signs will be posted on roads likely to be impacted by smoke, which could include Pyeatt Draw Road (FR198), FR1171 and FR1161. Officials encourage motorists to use caution and slow down for the safety of firefighters and the public.
Unfavorable weather conditions resulted in the Forest Service postponing this treatment originally slated for mid-October. Fire treatments typically continue for several days and take place when weather conditions wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity and fuel moisture conditions are favorable.
Proper conditions allow land managers to protect natural and cultural resources, while diminishing danger to the public and firefighters. Broadcast fire treatments need low-to-moderate winds to carry flames and dissipate smoke during and after ignitions in order to achieve the beneficial effects sought by land managers. Officials closely monitor the growth, rate of spread, and smoke from a prescribed fire treatment. Aggressive suppression action is taken if the fire displays behavior that does not meet resource management objectives.
Since 2001, the Payson Ranger District has been focusing on cost-effective fire prevention, fire suppression, and prescribed fire strategies to support healthy forest landscapes and reduce catastrophic wildfire danger while protecting and enhancing natural resources and watersheds on the district.