Northern Arizona highway to close temporarily out of concern for prescribed fire smoke

May 9, 2024, 8:20 PM

Smoke can be seen coming from a forest next to an Arizona highway. A section of State Route 87 in n...

A section of State Route 87 in northern Arizona will be closed for a prescribed fire on May 10, 2024. (Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

PHOENIX – Anticipating smoky conditions from a prescribed fire, officials plan to close a section of State Route 87 in northern Arizona on Friday.

The closure will cover both directions of SR 87 between State Route 260 and Lake Mary Road, a 12-mile stretch north of Payson, starting at 6 a.m.

Detour options include SR 260 and Interstate 17, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The closure will be lifted after conditions improve later in the day, ADOT said, but fire managers might close the roadway again for short periods if visibility decreases.

Why are prescribed fires conducted?

Fire managers regularly conduct prescribed fires to thin out overcrowded forests, mitigating the threat of wildfires.

Officials are concerned about the combined impact of Friday’s prescribed fire on the west side of SR 87 along with smoke from the nearby Wolf Fire, a lightning-caused wildfire that started April 29 and is still smoldering.

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Northern Arizona highway to close temporarily out of concern for prescribed fire smoke