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Wallow Fire – Waiting For The Wind

Wallow FireA big jump in containment to 29% yesterday, which will hopefully reduce the effect of the Red Flag conditions of today and tomorrow. They are speaking to two individuals whose campfire may have been the initial source of fire. While this fire is larger than the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, it has not destroyed the hundreds of houses that were lost in 2002.

Those whose homes were spared in the area need to buy flood insurance as soon as possible, because when the rains do come, flooding and landslides are almost guaranteed with the denuded hills. There is a waiting period before the insurance takes effect, and there is no way of knowing when the rains will arrive.

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: 487,016 acres [761 miles² 1971 km²] based on infrared data
  • Percent Contained: 29%
  • Injuries to Date: 8
  • 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 4,571 including 20 hotshot crews and 72 hand crews
  • Equipment: 22 dozers, 312 engines, 75 watertenders
  • Aircraft: 15 helicopters, 5 air tankers, DC-10
  • Incident Commander: Jim Loach, Area Command Team 3

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for today and Friday from 11 AM to 8 PM MST due to strong winds and low relative humidity. Winds will be from the southwest from 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 35 to 45 mph. Conditions will be dry with relative humidities of 5% to 12%. Critical fire weather conditions can be expected today through Sunday. It is expected that these conditions will challenge containment lines and create a strong potential for long range spotting up to a mile. Fire crews are taking appropriate steps in preparation.

As of this morning, firefighters have achieved 29% containment of the Wallow fire. Crews continue with patrol, hazard tree removal, structure protection, improving containment lines, holding the fire in place and conducting mop-up activities across the fire. Burnout continues west towards Alpine along US180 with plans to tie in with the dozer line just east of Luna Lake today. Continued fire spread is expected along Highway 191 and moving east/northeast in the Blue River drainage. Increased fire activity is expected on the southern end of the fire moving eastward. Containment work continues along 281, removing vegetation from along the road and chipping trees and brush as they are cut.

Firefighters are holding existing control lines south of Hwy 273 and north of the Black River along the fire’s west flank. Firelines immediately south of the Black River are also holding. Today fire crews plan to complete the construction of approximately 10 miles of indirect line on the Highland Trail (33 Trail) between McBride Canyon and Hwy 191 on the south end of the fire. Burnout operations in this area will begin as conditions allow. Smoke from these operations may be visible today.

[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.]