Fire officers warn campers and hikers that they will likely see smoke from a planned prescribed burn in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson in mid-October with smoke billowing off 8,666-foot Mica Mountain, the highest peak in the range, if a planned prescribed burn is carried out on schedule, reports Tucson.com.
The burn is intended to reduce buildups of downed trees and underbrush and thereby limit the danger of explosive wildfires in surrounding Ponderosa pine forests.
Fire officers at Saguaro National Park, which manages the area, say five trails will be closed and some backcountry camping sites will be limited during burning operations on up to 280 acres of land. Smoke will be visible from Tucson and could be present along backcountry trails for at least a week.
“The goal is to clear out the forest floor and avoid fire in treetops,” said Michelle Fidler, fire communication and education specialist with the National Park Service.
“The prescribed fire will mimic the role of lightning-ignited fires,” Fidler said. “The plan is to use low to moderate intensity fires – something that would burn hot enough to remove the dead and down fuels” without spreading up to the treetops.
That treatment is intended to limit wildfires such as the 2014 Deer Head Fire, which burned more than 1,000 acres near the area of the planned prescribed fire, Fidler said.