- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - Crews in the Prescott National Forest are cleaning up the damage from a tornado that struck with up to 110 mph winds last September.

Forest spokeswoman Debbie Maneely says a contractor is cutting dead trees into manageable sizes and piling the debris away from living vegetation. She says fire managers will burn the piles in the 50-acre area when conditions are right.

The work scheduled through March is meant to improve the health of the forest and reduce the chances of an insect outbreak.

A popular trail on Spruce Mountain that is used by hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers will remain open, but forest officials are urging people to be cautious in the area.

A tornado struck the forest southeast of Prescott on Sept. 27, damaging some homes and power lines. The National Weather Service documented wind speeds of between 86 mph and 110 mph.

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