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Pinal Fire Presents Opportunity

Pinal Fire
(Photo courtesy of inciweb.nwcg.gov)
Pinal Fire south of Globe.

For fire managers, the Pinal Fire burning hundreds of acres near Globe presents not just a challenge, but an opportunity.

After 65 years without a wildfire, the question wasn’t if a tinderbox of dead trees and forest litter six miles south of Globe would burn, but when. The answer came when lightning struck around May 8, and forest managers couldn’t be happier.

For years, they’ve planned to use a low-intensity burn to restore the resiliency of the fire-adapted ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forest.

“The fire will stay very low-intensity, and it’s just going to clean up the forest floor and do what nature’s intended to do," said Brad Widhalm with Tonto National Forest.

Managers hope the fire will clear 12,000 acres, but plant and moisture conditions could limit the burn to about half that area.

Meanwhile, fire crews will ensure private land, recreation facilities and infrastructure remain safe.

Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.