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Controlled burn at Tres Rios Wetlands in Phoenix to close 91st Avenue on Oct. 17

Phoenix and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management are planning a controlled burn Oct. 17 at the Tres Rios Wetlands in southwestern Phoenix.

The date could change depending on weather conditions. 

The area was built from 2007 to 2012 and receives treated wastewater from the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant. It is dense with wildlife and vegetation like desert shrubs and reeds. Nazario Prieto with the Phoenix Water Services Department says prescribed burns are the best way to control plant growth.

"They come in and use excavators, they use just a lot of people to come in and cut some of the reeds and some of the excess vegetation," Prieto said, referring to previous projects. "It's just extremely time-consuming and inefficient."

Prieto said the burns will provide training opportunities for the fire department and that this burn won't be the last in the wetlands.

"We're hoping that over the next five to seven years, we can go through the whole wetland and then after that maybe instead of every year, it's every other year, every third year — something like that," Prieto said.

A news release from the city said 91st Avenue will be closed between the treatment plant and Baseline Road for most of the day.

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Naomi DuBovis was an intern at KJZZ in 2023.