Forest Service to burn piles in Payson on Jan. 8-9

PHOENIX, January 7, 2020 — Fire specialists plan to burn 33 acres of vegetative debris Jan. 8-9 in Payson, north of the Home Depot store on the west side of State Route 87.

Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell moderate amounts of smoke during the two-day prescribed operation.  In addition to the burn area, smoke will impact Flowing Springs, Mesa del Caballo and Freedom Acres during the day. In the evening, smoke will hover from the burn area to East Verde Estates. Residual smoke may linger thru Jan. 11. To minimize smoke impacts, fire personnel will end ignitions by 3 p.m. each day.

Signs will be posted on roads that are likely to be affected by smoke. Motorists are urged to use caution when driving through the area, and to slow down for the safety of firefighters working in the area, and the public.

Tonto officials note that they received permission to conduct prescribed fire burns in specific areas on the forest despite the ongoing legal matter involving a court-ordered injunction on select timber management activities for New Mexico national forests as well as the Tonto National Forest regarding potential effects to the Mexican spotted owl.

These burns enhance range, watershed, and wildlife habitat.  Prescribed fires always are dependent on the right conditions which include temperature, wind speed and direction, fuel moisture content, and relative humidity.