Updated at 12:22 p.m. June 4, 2011
The Wallow fire in southeastern Arizona, one of two huge fires burning in the area, spread an additional four to eight miles to the north on Friday partially due to long-range spotting, forcing more evacuation notices. The residents in the communities of Alpine and Nutrioso had been previously forced to leave and those in Greer were given a pre-evacuation notice on Friday. The residents of Blue River have been evacuated by Greenlee County officials. Inciweb has more information about evacuations.
An 8:30 a.m. update on June 4 from the incident management team included this information:
The fire advanced to the north and north-west and impacted Big Lake Lookout but not the Big Lake Recreation area. The has fire crossed the 249 road. The perimeter of the fire is close to Nutrioso and Mongollon rim but has not gone over yet.
Making some rough measurements based on the map showing heat detected by satellites early Saturday morning, the fire at that time was approximately 4 air miles from Nutrioso, 9 miles from Greer, 15 miles from Eagar, and 11 miles from Luna, NM. These distances are estimates based on satellite data.
The Wallow fire burned an additional 14,600 acres on Friday, bringing its total to
120,600 an estimated 140,000 acres according to InciWeb. This makes it the third largest in state history, behind 2002′s 469,000-acre Rodeo-Chediski and 2005′s Cave Creek fire which burned 248,000 acres. The Willow fire now stands at number four, having burned 120,000 acres in 2004.
Below is a zoomed-in map showing the north half of the Wallow fire.
A call center has been established by the White Mountain Joint Information Center for information, including evacuation information, regarding the Wallow fire. Their phone number is (928) 333-3412, and their web site is 593.org. InciWeb is another source.
There are two “weather cams” that may occasionally have a view of the smoke. One is at Springerville near Eagar, about 15 miles to the north, and the other is at Greer, about 9 miles north of the fire. Click the “Time-Lapse” buttons to see earlier images.
The other large fire burning in Arizona is the Horseshoe 2 fire, near Portal.
The weather forecast for the Nutrioso area just north of the fire does not look favorable for the firefighters. On Saturday afternoon the winds should be out of the southwest at 21 mph with gusts up to 30 and a relative humidity of 8%. The winds are expected to decrease to 1-3 mph during the night but on Sunday afternoon increase to 17 with 26 mph gusts along with a RH of 6 to 25 percent. There is a chance of thunderstorms Sunday afternoon through Monday afternoon.
We posted updated information about the Wallow fire at 9:30 p.m. on June 4.