Slash pile burning to take place on Safford Ranger District

Smoke may be visible in surrounding areas

TUCSON, AZ – The Safford Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest plans to conduct slash pile burning activities on Mt. Graham in the Pinaleño Mountains over the winter months. Burning will be dependent upon weather conditions.

The burning is intended to reduce excessive vegetation or “fuel” in and adjacent to the summer home areas of Turkey Flat and Old Columbine to create defensible space and restore a more fire resilient forest within the area. Trees are thinned and piled, then burned when weather conditions are favorable for fire to consume the piles but not spread beyond them.

Slash piles will also be burned within the Pinaleño Ecosystem Restoration Project in the Cunningham and Grant Hill areas. Fire crews will be present to take action as needed throughout the projects.

Smoke will be visible from the Gila Valley and surrounding areas. Highway 366 may be impacted by smoke during the operations. Highway closures are not anticipated at this time. Motorists are encouraged to use caution while driving in the area due to increased traffic and personnel working on the projects.

Fuels reduction projects such as thinning, pile burning and prescribed burning provide many benefits and are essential to maintaining healthy forest ecosystems. They provide habitat diversity, recycle plant nutrients into the soil, encourage new growth for a variety of plants used by wildlife and livestock and reduce the threat of large-scale wildfire impacts to private and public lands.

For further information please contact the Safford Ranger District Office weekdays at (928) 428-4150 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The office is closed weekends and federal holidays.