TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - There are several prescribed and pile burns scheduled in the coming weeks for southern Arizona.
The first is scheduled for Wednesday, April 17 possibly Thursday, April 18, if wind, temperature and relative humidity are favorable, according to the National Park Service at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
Crews will burn 0.1 acres within the Organ Pipe Cactus NM, 1.5 miles south of the Visitor Center along Highway 85 at milepost 76, those driving along this route may experience minor delays.
According to NPS, smoke will be visible from one to three hours after the fire is lit, and light smoke may be visible for three to five days after the fire is lit from Highway 85, Ajo Mountain Drive, Twin Peaks Campground and the visitor center.
Excess vegetation is removed periodically around park facilities and infrastructure in order to maintain a defensible space and reduce the risk from wildfire.
According to NPS the pile burn consists of woody vegetation that was removed earlier during a defensible space treatment.
Organ Pipe Cactus NM periodically removes excess vegetation around park facilities and infrastructure in order to maintain adequate defensible space and reduce the risk from wildfire.
In the coming weeks, 250 acres within Gardner Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains will be the location for another prescribed burn, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The burn is scheduled for the last two weeks of April, according to the USFS and is six miles northwest of Sonoita, along the Santa Rita Road and is expected to reduce hazardous fuels and potential wildfire intensity in the Sonoita, Gardner Canyon and Hog Canyon residential areas.
Crews involved in the burn include the following fire departments: Green Valley, Patagonia, Rincon, Rio Rico and Sonoita.
It is expected to improve forest health by reducing canopy cover from encroaching woody species; to restore the native semi-desert grassland; to improve wildlife habitat and to restore fuel loading to a more natural level to aid in returning the forest area into a more fire-resistant and resilient state.
According to USFS, fuels in this burn consists of oak, juniper, manzanita, grasses and leaf litter. Some wood has been cut and piled within the burn area.
Signs will be placed along State Highway 83 and Santa Rita Road indicating when the prescribed burn will take place. No closures are expected, however, traffic on Santa Rita road will be held for short periods of time to allow crews, equipment to move freely during ignitions.
Smoke may be visible to the north and east, but should not impair visibility.
Additional information, including a map and updates will be posted on https://www.nps.gov/sagu/learn/nature/fire-updates.htm.