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Wallow Fire – Slow And Steady

Wallow FireThe firefighters’ efforts are showing definite effects, as the rate of spread of the fire is slowing. Containment is now at 33%, but with Red Flag conditions yesterday, the growth in the fire was a modest 8,000 acres, showing the efforts are paying off in reducing the spread.

Only rain over the area is going to put this fire out, even after it is 100% contained, and it may well take the winter snows.

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: 495,016 acres [773 miles² 2003 km²] based on infrared data
  • Percent Contained: 33%
  • Injuries to Date: 10
  • 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 4,418 including 21 hotshot crews and 69 hand crews
  • Equipment: 31 dozers, 284 engines, 75 watertenders
  • Aircraft: 15 helicopters, 5 air tankers, DC-10
  • Incident Commander: Jim Loach, Area Command Team 3

The Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect from 11 AM to 8 PM MST due to strong winds and low relative humidity. Southwest winds are forecast from 15 – 25 mph with gusts of 35 – 45. Critical fire weather is expected through Sunday. Relative humidities this afternoon will range from 5 – 10 %. The hot, dry and windy weather coupled with the drought stressed vegetation, and heavy fuel loading in mixed conifer forests has the potential to create extreme fire behavior.

Active interior fire will continue with torching and short-range spotting. Yesterday firefighters responded to spot fires in various areas of the fire and the threat of spot fires continues. Firefighters continue to strengthen and secure lines, prepare lines for burnout, mop-up, patrol and conduct structure protection across the fire. While interior pockets of fire remain active, no fire movement is anticipated in the northern portion of the fire today. However, there is significant growth potential in the northeast due to Red Flag conditions. Active fire behavior continues east of Alpine in unburned islands north of US 180.

Burning along US 180 from Luna to Alpine was completed yesterday. Active burning can be expected in the Blue River drainage. Fire was active in the Grant Creek area last night. Brushing and chipping along SR 281 to improve it for use as a containment line continues.

On the southwest flank, fire crews have completed a line to keep the fire in Warren Canyon. Firelines immediately south of Black River are holding. Operations south of SR 273 and north of Black River are focusing on mop-up and rehabilitation of existing firelines. Road construction crews were allowed to return to work along SR 273 in the Sunrise Ski Resort area. Nearly 30 miles of slash created by improving roads will be chipped on the west flank. Forecasted Red Flag conditions will make it difficult to secure the south end of the fire. As winds increase today and tomorrow, returning evacuees and all individuals within the vicinity of the fire need to be aware of the possibility of increased fire activity.

[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.]