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Prescribed Burns This Week Over 3,000 Acres In Tonto National Forest

Fire specialists at Tonto National Forest will begin a prescribed burn in the Houston Mesa Road area near Payson. More than 3,000 acres of brush will be treated over a two day period.

Starting Tuesday, residents and visitors to the area can expect to see plenty of smoke during the two day operation. Communities south of Diamond Rim will be heavily impacted.

In a statement, a Tonto Forest spokesperson says smoke could linger into Friday. Fire specialists will stop ignitions by 4 p.m. each day to minimize the impact of smoke in the area.

In 2001, the Payson Ranger District began implementing a fuels reduction strategy. The goal is to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger in Rim Country, restore the natural ecological system and develop and foster sustainable forest conditions, wildlife habitat and watersheds.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.