Alpine, AZ, March 31, 2021— The Alpine Ranger District on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests plans to begin small portions of the Wallow West Unit 4 West prescribed burn starting the first week of April, and possibly into early May, depending on weather conditions and forecast.
The 9,000-acre prescribed fire area is bounded to the north and west by Forest Road 25; to the east by Forest Road 25G; and to the south by the Black River.
Fuel types include grass, mixed conifer, and ponderosa pine. The burn is intended to improve diversity of vegetative age classes, vegetative species, and vegetative structure. Prescribed burning enhances wildlife habitat and watershed conditions, while promoting forest health and protecting communities from the effects of future high severity wildfire.
Prior to lighting the burn, crews have constructed and designated firebreaks to help ensure the fire does not leave the burn area. The burn will mimic historic natural fire as much as possible. Fire will typically move slowly in most areas, but in tall grassy areas may spread more rapidly with high flames for short periods of time within containment lines. Fire specialists will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind and humidity, and make adjustments in the schedule as needed to ensure the safety of both fire personnel and the general public.
Smoke may be visible from Big Lake Recreation Area, the communities of Alpine, Nutrioso, Springerville, and Forest Service Road 25. Motorists are advised to drive safely when approaching areas where prescribed fire activities may limit visibility and/or hinder fire personnel operations.
All prescribed burns are approved through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) before ignition begins. The ADEQ monitors air quality and determines whether or not it will be a good day for smoke dispersion. Although smoke from prescribed fire can still be noticeable, it is usually for a shorter time and considerably less smoke than wildfires produce. If you are sensitive to smoke or have respiratory problems, stay indoors if possible.
Questions or concerns contact the Alpine Ranger District at 928-339-5000 or visit the ASNFs website at: www.fs.usda.gov/asnf