- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

PAYSON, Ariz. (AP) - Residents and visitors in areas around Payson are expected to see smoky conditions in the coming week as Tonto National Forest workers burn vegetative debris piles over hundreds of acres.

Forest officials say prescribed fires help natural and cultural resources, while decreasing danger to the public and firefighters.

Forest officials say the first prescribed fire project is scheduled Monday and Tuesday to burn 174 acres of piles in several areas, including Diamond Point Summer Homes about 10 miles northeast of Payson. Residual smoke may linger through Thursday.

Additional burns are scheduled Wednesday and Thursday in areas around Payson as workers eliminate 248 acres of piles in the vicinity of Colcord lookout tower. Officials say smoke will impact the communities of Colcord Estates and Ponderosa Estates and possibly linger through Sunday.

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