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Controlled burn Monday on Mt. Lemmon

Don't be alarmed if you see smoke coming from Mt. Lemmon on Monday. The Santa Catalina Ranger District has scheduled a controlled wood pile burning near two campsites that day.

Residents might be able to see smoke rising as wood piles are burned near Spencer Canyon and Whitetail Group campgrounds.

The controlled burns are part of a Coronado National Forest long-term project to thin wildfire fuels in the Santa Catalina Mountain, a Forest Service news release said.

Areas with ponderosa pines and mixed-conifer trees are being thinned to improve forest health, promote wildlife habitat, and reduce hazardous fuel buildup that increase the risk of wildfires, said spokeswoman Heidi Schewel.

The wood from thinned-out areas is collected and burned. 

The Forest Service is treating areas where human-caused fires are likely to start, such as campgrounds and cabins in Lower Soldier Camp, Schewel said. The wood burning Monday will cover about five acres.

Some thinning treatments are also intended to benefit northern goshawks, which live in national forests throughout the West. Open forest canopies create clumped vegetation, preferred by the goshawk, and encourage grass and groundcover growth for the bird’s prey, said Schewel.

The recent cool temperatures, higher humidity levels and snow make for an ideal time to burn the wood piles, limiting the risks posed by the burns, the news release said.

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For more information on the wood pile burning, contact the Santa Catalina Ranger District at 749-8700.   

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