Light rain and snow on the Tinder Fire in Arizona

Personnel are mopping up in some areas, but Southwest Incident Management Team #1 reports “zero percent” of the fireline is contained.

The Tinder Fire between Payson and Winslow Arizona received light rain and snow over the last 24 hours. This raised the humidity and a satellite overflight early Wednesday morning detected no large heat sources. However, cloud cover may have blocked the sensors on the satellite. A fixed wing mapping flight scheduled overnight had to be cancelled due to weather.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Tinder Fire, click here.)

On Tuesday fire crews burned off seven miles of existing Forest Service roads to create continuous containment lines from along the west flank. Wednesday’s objective is to carry this new containment line north to Mogollon Ranchettes.

Fire crews working with the support of Type 1 heavy helicopters built containment line entirely around the spot fire near Leonard Canyon Tuesday. They were able to hold the spot at approximately 5 acres. As conditions allow, helicopters will continue with water drops to suppress remaining heat.

Coconino County will be notifying property owners about structures that have been damaged or destroyed.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office evacuation for all Blue Ridge Tinder Fire affected communities north, east and west of Hwy 87 remains in effect. The evacuation will remain in effect until firefighters are able to contain the west and north flanks of the fire and are confident there is no longer a threat to communities.

FEMA Region 9 and other sources are reporting that the fire was caused by an abandoned illegal campfire.

After the precipitation, personnel are mopping up further into the burn area in some areas rather than having to concentrate on building fireline. But Bea Day’s Incident Management Team (IMT) on Wednesday reported “zero percent containment” on the fire. According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s Glossary, 100 percent containment would be when “a control line has been completed around the fire, and any associated spot fires, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire’s spread”. If, for example, 10 percent of the fire perimeter has fireline (where fuel has been removed) and that section of the perimeter is not likely to spread, some IMTs will call it 10 percent contained. Other teams release to the public a containment figure using very different criteria. This is why Wildfire Today rarely includes containment percentages, since they can be meaningless.

Tinder Fire continues to grow northeast of Payson, AZ

Above: Tinder Fire, April 30, 2018. InciWeb photo.

(Originally published at 8:32 a.m. MDT May 1, 2018)

The Tinder Fire 22 air miles northeast of Payson, Arizona continued to expand on the north and east sides Monday, adding another 2,797 acres to bring the total burned area up to 11,420 acres.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Tinder Fire, click here.)

The Incident Management Team has acknowledged that structures have burned but said Coconino County officials will be assessing the damage and releasing information when it becomes available. CBS This Morning is reporting that 20 to 30 structures have been destroyed.

map Tinder Fire Arizona
Vicinity map of the Tinder Fire.
map Tinder Fire Arizona
Map of the Tinder Fire showing the perimeter at 1 a.m. MST May 1, 2018. Perimeter by USFS.

The area is not under a Red Flag Warning Tuesday for extreme fire weather, but the forecast calls for 20 mph southwest winds gusting above 30 mph with a high temperature of 56 and a relative humidity of 28 percent. Beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday there is a 50 percent chance of rain, and by sunrise on Wednesday the humidity will reach 80 percent. The elevation at the fire is about 6,700 feet.

KMAX Tinder Fire Arizona
A KMAX helicopter works the Tinder Fire April 30, 2018. InciWeb photo.

Moderating weather conditions after today could give the 510 personnel assigned to the fire a chance to make significant progress.

The video below was recorded at a public meeting Monday evening April 30.

Chinook Tinder Fire Arizona
A Chinook helicopter with an internal tank works the Tinder Fire April 30, 2018. InciWeb photo.

Tinder Fire forces evacuations, burns structures in central Arizona

Above: 3D map of the Tinder Fire showing the perimeter at 1 a.m. MST April 30, 2018. Looking South. Perimeter by USFS.

(Originally published at 10:29 a.m. MDT April 30, 2018)

Structures have burned and evacuations are taking place at the Tinder Fire in Arizona. A mapping flight at 1 a.m. MT on Monday showed that it had burned 8,623 acres east of Highway 87 between Payson and Winslow, Arizona.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Tinder Fire, click here.)

Firefighters were actively engaged in structural protection Sunday night. The Incident Management Team (IMT) led by Bea Day reports that structures have burned but no details are available. The fire remains active in the communities affected by the fire and the priority is providing for emergency responder and public safety. Coconino County will be assessing damages and providing updates as they are able.

Tinder Fire
Tinder Fire, April 29, 2018. InciWeb photo, uncredited and undated.

The fire started April 27 during Red Flag Warning conditions. A map released Sunday morning showed that it had burned about 500 acres. A strong southwest wind pushed it to the northeast away from its origin near Highway 95 east of Blue Ridge Reservoir. A new map from 1 a.m. Monday  showed that it spread near a community on the east side of Highway 87/282.

Map of the Tinder Fire
Map of the Tinder Fire showing the perimeter at 1 a.m. MST April 30, 2018. Perimeter by USFS.

The resources assigned to the fire include 13 crews, 5 helicopters, 23 engines, 3 dozers, 2 water tenders, and overhead, for a total of 510 personnel.

On Monday the fire is just outside a Red Flag Warning area, but strong southwest winds will continue to be a challenge for firefighters through Tuesday.  The IMT reports that there is a potential for very active to extreme fire behavior with rapid rates of spread and moderate to long range spotting. The weather forecast indicates that the fire will continue to move to the northeast.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office has ordered evacuations for communities affected by the fire that are north, east, and west of Hwy 87. Visit for details. Blue Ridge area residents can call the County’s Call Center, 928-679-8393, with questions about evacuations and structures.

Satellite photo Tinder Fire
Satellite photo of the Tinder Fire, April 29, 2018. NASA.
Tinder Fire
Tinder Fire, April 29, 2018. InciWeb photo, uncredited and undated.

Below is video of the fire recorded over the fire Monday morning.

Rattlesnake Fire burns almost 17,000 acres in eastern Arizona

Above:  The Rattlesnake Fire, posted to Inciweb approximately April 20, 2018. Photographer unknown.

Growth on the 16,891-acre Rattlesnake Fire 20 miles southwest of Alpine, Arizona has slowed in recent days, but the perimeter continues to expand as firefighters conduct burnout operations to secure firelines.

Fire managers continue to monitor lines on the western flank near the Black River where a few areas of concern are still active. Some firefighters were moved from the west to the east side which has more active fire. Burnout operations were conducted along Forest Road 25 on Saturday.

Map of the perimeter Rattlesnake Fire
Map of the perimeter of the Rattlesnake Fire, April 22, 2018. USFS.

Mike Rowe honors wildland firefighters

His Facebook show traveled to Prescott, Arizona, which was the home of the Granite Mountain Hotshots

Above: The trailhead at Granite Mountain Memorial State Park May 19, 2017 before the modification featured in the program.

In the most recent episode of Mike Rowe’s Facebook series, “Returning the Favor” (below), he honors wildland firefighters as he spends time in Prescott, Arizona. The 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire south of the city in 2013 were based in Prescott. Mr. Rowe talks with Deborah Pfingston and Roxanne Preston, co-founders of The Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute, and reveals an improvement at the state park that honors the crew.

Ms. Pfingston’s son, Andrew Ashcraft, and Ms. Preston’s husband, William Warneke, were killed in the fire.

I don’t know when the show was filmed, and I won’t spoil the reveal at the end, but the change made at the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park was not there when I visited the park in May of 2017.

Three firefighters suffer burns on Arizona fire

All three are expected to make full recoveries

Three firefighters are recovering from burn injuries they sustained while working on a wildfire in Southwest Arizona over the weekend.

On Friday, March 16 two State Forestry firefighters were burned after falling into an ash pit on the Laguna Fire, 14 miles northeast of Yuma.

One firefighter suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns and was flown to the Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix where he remains in the hospital. The other was treated at a Yuma-area hospital and released.

On Saturday, a third firefighter was injured on the same fire. He suffered minor burns and was also treated at the hospital and released.

Two of the firefighters are part of State Forestry’s Phoenix Crew. The third firefighter is a member of State Department of Corrections’ Yuma Crew.

“Firefighter safety is our number one priority at all times. The accidents are currently under review and being investigated by the department. We ask that you please keep all of our firefighters in your thoughts,” said State Forester Jeff Whitney.

All three are expected to make full recoveries.

The 15-acre Laguna Fire started Thursday, March 15th and the cause is under investigation.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jason and Tom.
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