Tonto National Forest fire specialists will continue conducting prescribed fire treatments in areas around Payson on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, through Friday, February 17, 2017. Current weather conditions are providing an opportunity to burn 115 acres of vegetative debris piles in the area between Christopher Creek Campground and Hunter Creek east of Payson and south of Arizona State Route 260. Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell moderate-to-heavy amounts of smoke during the four-day operation. During the day and evening hours, smoke will impact R-C Boy Scout Camp, Kohls Ranch, Bear Flat, and Hunter Creek. Residual smoke may linger in the area through Sunday, February 19.
Fire specialists will also begin eliminating 76 acres of vegetative piles in the Zane Grey area beginning Tuesday, February 14 through Friday, February 17, 2016. Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell moderate amounts of smoke during the four-day operation. During the day, smoke will impact the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery and the community of Zane Grey. Residual smoke in the evening hours will move down Tonto Creek, and will impact Tonto Creek Estates, Kohls Ranch and Bear Flat. Residual smoke may linger in these areas through Sunday, February 19, 2017.
Residents and visitors to these areas can expect to see and smell moderate amounts of smoke during these operations. Fire specialists will terminate ignitions by 3 p.m. each day to minimize the impact of smoke. Signs will be posted on roads likely to be affected by smoke. Motorists are urged to use caution and slow down while driving forest road 289 near Tonto Fish Hatchery 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.
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 a prescribed 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.