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Arizona Wildfires Continue to Burn

31 May 2017  

Arizona is definitely in the midst of wildfire season across the state.

The Racetrack 2 Fire in the Coronado National Forest was held to just 13.5 acres on Wednesday, May 24th. Three fire engines and one hotshot crew responded, enabling them to keep it from spreading any farther.

Above the Mogollon Rim the Snake Ridge Fire is burning. This recent lightning-caused wildfire is being allowed to fulfill it’s natural role, moving across the landscape as it consumes dead and down wood, pine needles and forest fuels. It’s functioning like a prescribed burn, with a Type 3 Incident Management Team assigned to it, including approximately 90 firefighters and personnel. Some burnout operations are being conducted, and they are working hard to protect powerlines from damage. Smoke will be visible from I-17, Lake Mary Road and SR 87 and 260.

According to Inciweb, "The Snake Ridge Fire does not have a planned end date, but firefighters have determined an approximate 55,000-acre planning area within which the fire may run its natural course. However, this does not mean the fire will move across all 55,000 acres, as specific edges of the fire will be suppressed to protect certain values such as public safety, private property, cultural sites, major transmission lines, trailheads, dispersed camping sites and more. The wildfire will increase from its current size and is predicted to move across approximately 15,000 acres of land inside the determined planning area over the next two weeks as firefighters help direct where and how the fire moves through the landscape."

The report on Inciweb explains that fire managers are striving to achieve the following objectives as the fire continues course:

• Ensure the safety of all incident personnel
• Protect the public in the immediate area
• Protect infrastructure, including powerlines, history plots, precipitation gauge and Buck Butte Pit
• Prevent fire from entering private lands, or seek agreements with land owners
• Enhance and maintain healthy ecosystem
• Address smoke management concerns
• Provide advance notice of potential smoke impacts
• Minimize prolonged smoke impacts to firefighters, communities and highways
• Minimize undesirable fire effects
• Protect cultural resources
• Prevent fire from entering sensitive wildlife areas

The Joes Hill Fire in Black Canyon City, which was located near a junk yard, caused a less-than-24-hour evacuation of about 20 residents. According to Fire Chief Mark Nichols, six structures were lost, although no injuries were reported. The fire started at 4 PM on Saturday, and was contained and extinguished early that evening. But, at 1 AM the fire started back up again under suspicious circumstances. One of the evacuated residents reported waking up to the sound of explosions.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire contained within about 60 acres, allowing residents to return to their home after 6 PM on Sunday. No injuries have been reported, and even nearby horses remained safe.

200 firefighters and personnel responded to the call, which allowed them to keep the fire from spreading, despite hot and windy conditions. The fire is under investigation.

The Slavin Fire first reported at 3:30 PM today, is about 15 miles SE of Benson. It is burning through grasses and brush, and is already at an estimated 150 acres. Twelve structures in the Dragoon Ranch Estates have been evacuted and Cochise County Emergency Management has set up. a shelter in St. David.

Air resources and extra fire personnel have been ordered to help with suppression efforts.


The Dove Fire on the San Carlos Apache Reservation has been burning since a lightning strike on Tuesday, May 9. Firefighters are managing the fire to achieve ecological goals, including reducing forest litter, increasing forage for wildlife and cattle and increasing watershed health.

The Dove Fire has spread to nearly 11,000 acres.

The Pinal Fire in the Tonto National Forest started May 8 from a lightning strike, approximately 6 miles south of Globe, Arizona. No evacuation orders are in effect at this time, although residents are urged to be prepared as conditions can change rapidly. Some road closures remain and fire restrictions remain in effect.

"Firefighters are working to keep the fire within the system of roads that surround it and protect values at risk. These values include watersheds, communication towers, private and recreational residences, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, Mexican spotted owl habitat, and air quality.”

The Pinal Fire has spread to 7171 acres, and is almost 50% contained; it is not expected to be fully contained until June 15.

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Fire agencies wish to remind the public that it is illegal to fly drones in a fire fighting area. "Aerial resources have had to be grounded during the course of this incident after civilian drones were spotted near the fire. This directly impacted suppression efforts. If you fly, we can’t. It is illegal to interfere with firefighting efforts.”





Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.