The Tonto National Forest will continue its prescribed fire treatments in areas around Payson starting on Monday, Dec. 7.
If conditions are favorable, fire specialists will begin a 370-acre treatment approximately 25 miles east of Payson and six miles south of State Highway 260. The area boundary is forest roads 411, 512, and 128. This burn is expected to take two days to complete. Smoke will affect the community of Haigler Creek.
Fire specialists will also begin a 1,300- acre treatment approximately 11 miles east of Payson, just south of State Highway 260. Burn activities will continue through Friday, Dec. 11. Smoke from this burn will affect the communities of Thompson Draw#1, Kohls Ranch, Bear Flats, and possibly Gisela.
Residents and visitors to these areas can expect to see and smell moderate-to-heavy amounts of smoke at times during these operations. Smoke will be visible while driving east of Payson on Highway 260. Fire Managers will terminate ignitions by 3 p.m. each day during fire operations to minimize the impact of smoke.
Signs will be posted on roads likely to be affected by smoke. Motorists are urged to use caution while driving on east on State Highway 260, and forest roads 411, 512, 128, and 893. Please slow down for the safety of the public and firefighters.
Prescribed fire treatments are always dependent on conditions such as wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content, and other variables. Broadcast treatments typically continue for several days and are conducted when fuel moisture content of the vegetation and weather conditions are favorable. Low-to-moderate winds are needed to carry flames and to dissipate smoke during and after ignition operations and to achieve beneficial effects sought by land managers.
Prescribed fire gives land managers the important option of treating areas with fire under favorable conditions, which helps to protect the natural and cultural resources, while decreasing danger to the public and firefighters. The growth, rate of spread, and smoke from an RX fire treatment is closely monitored. Aggressive suppression actions are taken if the fire displays behavior that does not meet resource management objectives.
In 2001, the Payson Ranger District began implementation of a far-reaching, long-range, landscape-scale, three-pronged fuels reduction strategy. The achievable goal is to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger in Rim Country, to initiate the restoration of natural ecological systems, and to develop and foster sustainable forest conditions, wildlife habitat, and watersheds.