For those who gaze upon our lovely Mount Graham on a daily basis, there is no need to worry. The billowing smoke clouds on Tuesday, April fifth, was simply from a prescribed burn on Turkey Flat. Although it seems that the prescribed burns have come early this year, many would understand that if this hot chore had to be done, it is best done in the cool of the spring.
Prescribed burns are not as harmful as they appear. If the trees on the mountain are overgrown, they become stressed due to overcrowding. These burns improve the habitats of endangered species, and promotes the growth of wildflowers and other plants. Not only that, but these burns recycle needed nutrients back into the soil.
Specialists will write burn plans, hence the name ‘prescribed burn’. These plans classify the best conditions for the burns to happen in order to obtain the healthiest results for the habitat. Although we all bemoan the sight of our prized Mount Graham on fire, we can let out a sigh of relief this time. With more precise and carefully planned prescribed burns, there will be less of a chance of an extreme wildfire.
For more information on prescribed fires you can visit the Forest Service and Fire Aviation Management website: http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/management/rx.html