Wallow fire approaches Eagar and Springerville, AZ

Updated at 6:10 p.m. MT, June 8, 2011: Full evacuation of Springerville and Eagar.

Updated at 5:36 p.m. MT, June 8, 2011: new evacuation notice, and replaced the two maps with more updated versions.

Map of Wallow fire data 1426 6-8-2011

Map of the Wallow fire, showing heat (the red and yellow dots) detected by satellites over the 24-hour period ending at 2:26 p.m. p.m. MT, June 8. A mapped fire perimeter is shown (the red line) current as of 1:38 a.m. on 6-7-2011. MODIS/Google

Update: From the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest Twitter account at about 5:47 p.m. MT, June 8, 2011:

Apache County Sheriff’s Office has ordered a full evacuation of Springerville and Eagar effective now.

The incident management team posted this on InciWeb at about the same time:

The Apache County Sheriff’s Office has issued a full evacuation for Eagar and Springerville, effective immediately. A pre-evacuation notice is in effect Greens Peak, Hidden Meadows, and the surrounding areas.

The public meeting planned for this evening at the Round Valley HS has been canceled.

 

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Update: At approximately 3 p.m. on Wednesday the incident management team posted a notice of more evacuations:

New evacuations are currently underway in portions of Eager and Springerville. Essentially, all areas WEST of Main St are under evacuation, including all areas north of Highway 260, South of Hwy 60 and the airport.

The phones at the call center are currently down. For public information call: 702-308-3238, 702-308-3357, 702-308-8227

Tonight’s public meeting has been canceled.

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The massive Wallow fire in eastern Arizona has been marching steadily towards the north and northeast and on its eighth day burned close to the communities of Eagar and Springerville. Portions of Eagar have been evacuated and Springerville is under a “pre-evacuation alert”. The towns appear to be adjacent and have a combined population of about 6,400 residents.

An update today from the incident management team reports that the size of the fire has increased to 389,000 acres; it is 0% contained. Several areas are under evacuation orders; see below for links to more details about the evacuations.

From the IMTeam, Wednesday morning:

Last night, the lower winds, higher humidity, and cooler temperatures enabled firefighters to conduct burnout operations to reinforce fire line. Crews constructed 10 miles of dozer line south of Eager and Springerville. As conditions allow, crews will continue burnout operations to reinforce that line. Extreme fire behavior is predicted again today due to the forecast high winds and low humidity. Red Flag Warnings are still in effect for the area. Spot fires are occurring up to 3 miles ahead of the fire. Today’s firefighter activities include: burnout operations, building fire line, perimeter control, structure protection, and patrolling for spot fires.

The fire has burned almost completely around the communities of Nutrioso and Alpine. The incident management team running the fire reports that 10 structures have burned, but have not provided details about their locations.

CNN reports (see the video below) that due to smoke from the fire, four planes had to be diverted from landing at Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Wallow fire is now the second largest fire in Arizona’s recorded history. The Rodeo/Chediski fire of 2002, at 468,638 acres, is the largest.

 

Jim Loach, Area Commander
Jim Loach

Jim Loach’s Area Command Team 3 assumed command of the Wallow fire at 6:00 a.m. today. Up until then, the two incident management teams suppressing the fire had been reporting directly to the local agency administrator, but now they will report to the Area Commander. The main purposes of an Area Command Team are to work for the agency administrator to relieve the local unit of some of the duties of running a massive multi-team fire operation, and to coordinate the use of what may be limited firefighting resources — personnel, equipment, and aircraft. The last two years have been relatively quiet fire seasons nationally, and as a result this team has not had an assignment as a unit since they managed a multiple fire situation in northern California in July of 2008.

Loach’s AC Team will be supervising four Incident Management Teams, assigned geographically around the fire:

We will be updating this article during the course of the day. And as usual we will update the maps of the Wallow fire as new data is available.

Wallow fire, by Ron Sander, USFS

Wallow fire. Photo by Ron Sander, US Forest Service

Scroll down to see a zoomed-in map of the fire and its relationship to the communities of Eagar and Springerville.

A call center has been established by the White Mountain Joint Information Center (aka “Call Center”) for information, including evacuation information, regarding the Wallow fire. Their NEW PHONE NUMBERS ARE 702-308-3238, 702-308-3357, 702-308-8227 , and their web site is 593.orgInciWeb is another source.

Here are some links to live cameras in the general area of the Wallow fire:

Weather data from a RAWS weather station near Alpine, AZ and a RAWS station near Greer, AZ.

Photo galleries at ABC15Flickr, and at MSNBC.

 

Map of Wallow fire north side data 1426 6-8-2011

(Click to enlarge) Map of the north side of the Wallow fire, showing heat (the red and yellow dots) detected by satellites over the 24-hour period ending at 2:26 p.m. p.m. MT, June 8. A mapped fire perimeter is shown (the red line) current as of 1:38 a.m. on 6-7-2011. MODIS/Google

The video below has a fascinating interview with a local resident who reluctantly evacuated at the last minute.

 

P.S. A big thank you goes out to Sandra who, by clicking on the Tip Jar on the right, made a donation today to help support Wildfire Today.

 

Update: Read the June 9 report on the Wallow fire.

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About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of WildfireToday.com and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+

3 thoughts on “Wallow fire approaches Eagar and Springerville, AZ

  1. I am looking to volunteer for help with the fire. does anyone know where I can go to help?

    • I’ve been looking for days and haven’t found anything. i’m military and have some training but no one will give me any volunteer info. If you find anything call me 520-425-7225

      • Have you tried calling the White Mountain Joint Information Center? Their new phone numbers are 702-308-3238, 702-308-3357, 702-308-8227.

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