SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz., Oct. 24, 2023 – Fire managers plan to move operations to the Lakeside Ranger District this week when they begin the Mud Springs prescribed fire, slated for Wednesday, Oct. 25. The 1,829-acre prescribed fire is 3 miles south of Vernon. Fire managers advise there will be temporary smoke impacts in Vernon and surrounding areas. Check air quality information at https://www.airnow.gov/.
The project boundary is along and within Forest Road 224/Apache County Road 3140, Forest Road 5B, Forest Road 5, Forest Road 3D, Forest Road 44, and Forest Road 3.
Fire crews expect smoke to be visible from Highway 60 and 260 that could last for several days after initial ignitions and significantly decrease each day afterward. Crews are currently assessing weather and fuel conditions to determine whether they are within the criteria outlined in the prescribed burn plans. The project will be canceled if fuel moisture, temperature, wind, or humidity are not within the burn plan prescription. Multi-day prescribed fire operations require a daily assessment of conditions and line officer approval before operations can continue.
Prescribed fires are an effective tool for restoring fire-dependent ecosystems and reducing the risk of high-severity wildfires. Fire managers use prescribed fire to improve forest health, remove hazardous fuels, increase firefighter safety, enhance wildlife habitat, and protect communities and watersheds.
Landscape treatments such as these planned on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests align with the Forest Service’s 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which aims to increase the use of fire on the landscape and other treatments to improve forest health.