Burro fire near Tucson closes road to Mt. Lemmon

Above: 3-D map of the Burro Fire showing the perimeter at 8:30 p.m. MDT July 2, 2017. Looking southwest.

(Originally published at 8:20 a.m. MDT July 3, 2017.)

The Burro Fire is causing evacuations near Tucson, Arizona in the Mt. Lemmon area. The fire was reported June 30 on the southeast side of Mt. Lemmon in the foothills of Redington Pass and as of 8:30 p.m. MDT on Sunday had spread for six miles to within a mile of the Mt. Lemmon Highway. At that time it had burned about 11,300 acres according to an overnight mapping flight, which is an increase of over 6,000 acres from the last estimate. Monday morning the Incident Management Team estimated it had grown to about 14,000 acres.

The Burro Fire is 6 miles northeast of the outskirts of Tucson and 20 miles east of Interstate 10.

Burro Fire Mt Lemmon Tucson Arizona June 2, 2017
Burro Fire, July 2, 2017. Inciweb photo.

The Pima County Office of Emergency Management’s notices on their Facebook page are a little vague about what areas are being evacuated and when, but a news release from the Incident Management team said Summerhaven is being evacuated as well as the Mt. Lemmon Highway from Mile Marker 0 up to Palisades Road. Other locations are on a pre-evacuation notice. Residents can call 928-351-7537 for more information.

Map Burro Fire
Map of the Burro Fire, showing the perimeter at 8:30 p.m. MDT July 2, 2017.

Three DC-10 air tankers help firefighters slow growth of Goodwin Fire in Arizona

Above: Goodwin Fire, June 27, 2017. Photo by Christina Montiel, U.S. Forest Service.

(Originally published at 10:50 a.m. MDT June 29, 2017)

Firefighters were successful Wednesday in halting the spread of the Goodwin Fire near Mayer, Arizona. There was very little movement of the fire yesterday except for the southwest corner and the north side.

The southwest side spread about a quarter mile to the south, while the north side was very active, moving in some areas about 1.5 miles north along 5 miles of fire perimeter.

The growth added about 4,100 acres to the fire, bringing the total size to 24,828 acres.

map Goodwin fire
Map of the Goodwin Fire. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 4:17 a.m. MDT June 29. The Red line was the perimeter at 11 p.m. MDT June 28, while the white line was the perimeter at 2:30 a.m. MDT June 28, 2017.

Over 150 firefighters worked Tuesday night creating dozer lines between the fire and Mayer. Those lines were burned out Wednesday which prevented any significant growth toward the town. Firefighters were able to contain the 500 acres that burned east of Highway 69 between Poland Junction and Mayer. Wednesday morning the fire spread into a basin toward Poland Junction, but winds were lighter and the relative humidity did not drop to the low levels that contributed to Tuesday’s expansion.

Evacuations are still in place for several communities and Highway 69 is closed. There has been no change in the number of structures reportedly destroyed — it remains at nine, and it is unknown if they are residences or outbuildings.

Three very large air tankers, DC-10’s that carry 11,600 gallons of fire retardant, assisted firefighters on the ground Wednesday, reducing the fire’s intensity around endangered structures. The DC-10’s are often used on wildfires, but there are only three of the “Very Large Air Tankers” on contract with the federal government, and it is unusual for all of them to be working the same fire. They were reloading with retardant at Phoenix Mesa-Gateway airport 80 miles southeast of the fire.

Rick Hatton, President and CEO of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, said their three DC-10’s completed a total of 14 sorties to the Goodwin Fire during 16 total hours of flying Wednesday. He said the facilities and crews at the air tanker base accommodated the three huge aircraft very well.

Two of the aircraft are on exclusive use contracts with the U.S. Forest Service, and a third is on a call when needed contract.

Even though $2.4 million was spent in 2014 to improve the apron and plumbing at the air tanker base at Prescott, 15 miles from the fire, it was not designed to handle Very Large Air Tankers. But it can handle the “large” or “heavy” air tankers, such as the 2,000 to 3,500 gallon P2V, BAe-146, RJ85, MD-87, 737, and C-130.

And, as you can see below, Prescott makes a good temporary home for the helicopters working the Goodwin Fire.

An illegally operated drone flew into the fire area Wednesday, forcing all firefighting aircraft to be grounded for safety reasons. Law enforcement responded and is investigating the incident. Hobbyist drone operators are reminded that “if you fly, we can’t fly.” There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire area and it is against federal law to fly a drone within the restricted area.

In the video below you will see what appears to be a privately owned Blackhawk helicopter, a Firehawk, dropping retardant. Most of the time helicopters drop water directly on the flames, but the long term retardant can be effective when applied ahead of the fire.

Another helicopter dropping retardant:

Goodwin Fire crosses Highway 69 at Mayer, grows to 20,000 acres

Above: 3-D map of the Goodwin Fire at 9 p.m. MDT June 27, 2017.

(Originally published at 7:04 a.m. MDT June 28, 2017)
(Updated at 11:45 a.m. MDT June 28, 2017)

Wednesday morning the Goodwin fire was five times larger than it was 24 hours earlier. Southwest winds and low humidities caused it to spread to the northeast threatening the town of Mayer, Arizona which was under a mandatory evacuation order. It crossed highway 69 just north of the town and as of 9 p.m. Tuesday had spread for another two miles east of the highway, growing to about 20,600 acres. The previous night it was at 4,400 acres and had expanded to about 12,000 acres by 2:40 p.m. Tuesday.

The weather forecast for Wednesday is not good news for firefighters. The outlook is for 93 degrees, 11 percent relative humidity, and by noon the wind should increase to 12 to 15 mph out of the south to southwest with gusts to 27.

At a media briefing Wednesday at 11:20 a.m., Incident Commander John Pierson said an area of fuel mitigation completed by the state of Arizona north of Mayer was instrumental in helping to protect the town as the fire ran across Highway 69. He also said there is a good chance the portion of the fire that is east of the Highway can be contained by the dozers and hand crews that are working in that area.

On Wednesday air tankers began dropping retardant on the fire at 8 a.m. There are no ground troops in those locations to follow up and construct firelines, so the best firefighters can hope for, Mr. Pierson said, is that the spread of the fire will be slowed or delayed.

While the fire was making its big run Tuesday, a weather station at Sunset Point 14 miles southeast of the fire recorded a temperature of 101 degrees, 3 percent relative humidity, and 11 to 15 mph winds out of the south to southwest winds gusting at 23 to 31 mph.

map Goodwin Fire
Map of the Goodwin Fire at 9 p.m. MDT June 27, 2017.

Highway 69 is closed at Mayer. Evacuations are in effect for several communities in the area.

The National Situation Report says nine structures have burned since the fire started, but it is unclear when or where that occurred. There are no reports yet of any structures being destroyed as the fire approached Mayer. A June 27 news release from the Incident Management Team includes this information:

Goodwin Fire managers and cooperators have been receiving inquiries regarding structures damaged or destroyed during the first day of Goodwin Fire. It was reported that structures have been destroyed and the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office personnel are working with fire officials to determine the extent of damaged structures. However, this can only be accomplished when it is safe for deputies to enter, complete an accurate assessment, and determine ownership. Efforts to expedite the release of such information is ongoing. In the meantime, the patience of those residents who have been evacuated is greatly appreciated.

Beth Lund’s Type 1 Incident Management Team which had been staged at Phoenix has been ordered for the fire. They will be working with John Pierson’s Type 1 Incident Management Team that is already there.

In the video below, smoke from the Goodwin Fire can be seen in the lower-left corner. The other fire to the north is the Brian Head Fire east of Cedar City, Utah.

All articles on Wildfire Today about the Goodwin Fire near Mayer, Arizona.

Goodwin Fire forces evacuation of Mayer, Arizona

Above: The map shows the approximate location of the Goodwin Fire at 2:40 pm MDT, June 27, 2017. The data was supplied by a NOAA satellite and is a very rough estimate.

(UPDATED at 8:31 p.m. MDT June 27, 2017)
(Originally published at 5:57 p.m. MDT June 27, 2017)

The spread of the Goodwin Fire toward Highway 69 and Mayer, Arizona forced the mandatory evacuation Tuesday afternoon of the entire town and its 928 residents. The community of Pine Flat was previously evacuated.

According to satellite data we acquired at 2:40 p.m. MDT on Tuesday, at that time the Goodwin Fire was 12 miles southeast of Prescott, 1 mile west of Mayer, and 6 miles southwest of Dewey-Humboldt. According to the data, the fire has burned approximately 13,000 acres —  that is a VERY unofficial estimate, three times the size determined by an infrared mapping flight Monday night, which was 4,400 acres. Consider the 13,000 acre figure preliminary and a very rough estimate until the next mapping flight Tuesday night.

smoke Goodwinda and Brian Head Fires
At 7:37 p.m. MDT a satellite photographed smoke from the Goodwin and Brian Head Fires.

On Tuesday afternoon the fire was driven by southwest to southeast winds of 8 to 15 mph with gusts up to 22 mph. A weather station at Spring Valley southeast of the fire Tuesday afternoon recorded 95 degrees and a relative humidity of 6 percent.

C-130 Drop Goodwin Fire
A C-130 drops on the Goodwin Fire Tuesday evening, June 27. Screen grab from Fox10 live video.

The fire started three days ago on June 24 and is being managed by John Pierson’s Type 1 Incident Management Team.

Diane Souder, a spokesperson for the fire, said Tuesday at 5:50 p.m. MDT resources working on the fire included 2 air tankers, 4 helicopters, 29 engines, and 525 personnel.

Map of the Goodwin Fire
Map of the Goodwin Fire posted by John Pierson’s Type 1 Incident Management Team June 27, 2017.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

78% of firefighters tested at spike camp on Frye fire had strep throat

Medical Unit
An example of a Medical Unit at a wildfire. In 2012 community members toured the Incident Command Post, including the Medical Unit seen here, at the Springs Fire in Idaho. Inciweb photo.

On June 17 the Incident Management Team (IMT) running the Frye Fire near Safford, Arizona wrote on Inciweb that “21 additional personnel with unknown illness were demobilized.” On June 18 the Tucson News reported that 45 people at the fire had been treated for strep throat, also known as streptococcal pharyngitis.

On June 22 the IMT posted much more information about the “incident within an incident”. A doctor went to the remote Columbine Spike Camp on Mt. Graham where firefighters were staying so they did not have to endure the long round trip each day to the Incident Base. He swabbed the throats of 80 firefighters, with 63 (or 78 percent) testing positive for Streptococcus.

(As of June 24 the Frye Fire has burned over 29,000 acres at Mt. Graham near Safford, Arizona east of Tucson.)

Before and after those shocking test results, the IMT took many actions in order to mitigate the situation.

  • The IMT created an Incident Health Group led by a Medical Unit Leader with the sole function of dealing with the Strep outbreak. (Functional Groups can be quickly created within the Incident Command System to handle specific tasks.  An example of one that is often used is a Structure Protection Group. They may or may not be tied to a specific geographic location.)
  • The Team disinfected pretty much everything in sight.
  • They stopped using the hand-wash station.
  • The caterer was ordered to stop meal production and to dispose of all currently prepared meals. Personnel then were given bottled water and MREs.
  • Symptomatic personnel were isolated, and incoming resources were kept separate from existing personnel.
  • Contracts were issued for a doctor, an RN, and two paramedics to administer testing and provide medication.
  • Treatment with an oral antibiotic for those affected began.
  • The IMT recommended follow-up for the personnel that demobed prior to June 16.
  • When additional personnel presented with symptoms, they were kept isolated from the Incident Command Post population in an isolation/decontamination room where they could get a shower and a change of clothes. They also had access to another isolated room nearby where they could rest and recuperate so as not to expose others while under treatment during contagion.
  • Although the doctor suggested most patients would not be contagious 24 hours after the antibiotic treatment, the IMT decided to extend the period to 48 hours.
  • Graham County Public Health developed an epidemiological investigative process to include interviews and questionnaires with all available parties.

Strep throat affects about 3 million people in the U.S. each year.  With treatment by a medical professional, which often requires lab tests or imaging, it is usually resolved within days or weeks. Common symptoms include sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Rarely, complications can involve the heart or kidneys. Treatment is important to reduce complications.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Telescopes survive onslaught by Frye Fire

Above: Thanks to efforts by firefighters on the ground and in the air the Frye Fire burned around the Mt. Graham Observatory on June 18, 2017.

(Published at 10:37 a.m. MDT June 19, 2017)

The Frye Fire 8 miles southwest of Safford, Arizona burned up to and around the International Observatory on Mt. Graham Sunday.  The site is the home of several very important telescopes, including the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, the Large Binocular Telescope, & the Submillimeter Telescope.

Saturday afternoon as the fire approached the facility the Incident Management Team ordered 7 large (heavy) air tankers and one very large air tanker. Those firefighters in the air combined with others on the ground prevented any serious destruction of the instruments.

The view from the Mt. Graham Observatory at 10:12 a.m. MDT June 19, 2017, from a webcam at the facility.

Gila Valley Central reported that Eric Buckley, the Director at the Observatory, said, “The fire has come very close. It did come very close to the complex. We may have suffered a little heat damage but no actual fire damage.”

 Mt. Graham Observatory fire
At 9:08 a.m. MDT on Monday fire retardant dropped Sunday afternoon can still be seen by a webcam at the Observatory.

As of 11 p.m. MDT on Sunday the fire had burned almost 10,900 acres, an increase of about 2,000 acres from the day before.

Frye Fire aerial photo
The Frye Fire as seen from an aircraft. It was posted at Inciweb June 18, 2017.

Monday morning the Type 3 Incident Management Team turned the fire over to Alan Sinclair’s Southwest Area Type 2 Team.

The fire is not being fully suppressed, but firefighters are taking action to prevent damage to private land and structures.

The rest of this week the temperature at the lower elevations in the fire area will be over 110 degrees and the relative humidity will be below 10 percent. Monday will be somewhat breezy, but the wind is predicted to exceed 15 mph on Thursday and Friday.

Frye Fire map
Map of the Frye Fire. The white line was the fire perimeter at 11 p.m. MDT June 17, 2017. The red area was the perimeter 24 hours later on June 18.
Frye Fire smoke
Satellite photo showing smoke from the Frye Fire June 19, 2017.