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Wallow Fire – Beginning Of The End Game

Wallow FireWith a minimal amount of assistance from the weather to make backburning possible, firefighters can see the shape of the tunnel, if not quite the light at the end. As long as there is no serious wind event to blow the smoldering embers back to life, the fire is being slowly surrounded and contained.

Update – no help from the weather:

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Thursday and Friday. Fire crews on the Wallow Fire are preparing for strong winds that will challenge containment lines.

The National Weather Service has upgraded the Fire Weather Watch to a RED FLAG WARNING in effect from 11 AM to 8 PM MST Thursday and Friday for strong winds and low relative humidities.

According to the Service critical fire weather conditions can be expected from late morning through early evening on both Thursday and Friday. Winds will be from the southwest 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 35 to 45 mph. Afternoon minimum relative humidities will range from 5 to 12 percent.

Information from the current Wallow Fire InciWeb Page

  • Date Started: 5/29/2011
  • Location: Apache, Navajo, Graham, and Greenlee Counties, San Carlos and White Mountain Apache Reservations, Arizona; Catron County, New Mexico
  • Cause: Human – under investigation
  • Size: 478,452 acres [748 miles² 1936 km²] based on infrared data
  • Percent Contained: 20%
  • Injuries to Date: 7
  • Residences: 2,714 threatened; 32 destroyed; 5 damaged
  • Commercial Property: 473 threatened; 4 destroyed
  • Outbuildings: 1,216 threatened; 36 destroyed; 1 damaged
  • Other: 1 truck destroyed
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 4,656 including 22 hotshot crews and 72 hand crews
  • Equipment: 19 dozers, 315 engines, 78 watertenders
  • Aircraft: 25 helicopters, 5 air tankers, DC-10
  • Incident Commander: Jim Loach, Area Command Team 3

Firefighters have achieved 20% containment of the 478,452 acre Wallow Fire. Significant progress was made toward containment of the fire with a successful strategic firing operation near Luna Lake. Firefighters continue with patrol, hazard tree removal, structure protection, holding the fire in place, containment line improvement and mop-up across the fire. Weather today will be mostly sunny, with highs in the mid 80s. Winds will be north northwest from 5 to 8 mph becoming southwest between 13 and 16 mph with gusts to 25 mph.

The burnout from FR 220 south to US 180 was completed last night and the containment line held overnight. Today, burnout will continue west towards Alpine. Firefighters continue to coordinate with local fire departments to remove hazards in preparation for eventual re-entry to Alpine and Greer. Fireline repair begins today in the South Fork area. Air support will continue work to slow the spread of the fire.

Operations south of Highway 260 and north of Black River are focused on fireline repair and mop-up. Firelines immediately south of Black River are holding. The construction of approximately 10 miles of indirect line on the Highland Trail between McBride Canyon and Hwy 191 on the south end of the fire is expected to be completed today, although firing operations are dependent on favorable weather. Structure protection continues in the Sunrise Ski Resort Area.

[For the latest information click on the Fire symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]