Update on Arizona fires, June 6, 2011

Wallow fire as seen from Molly Butler Lodge in Greer AZ


Wallow Fire smoke
Smoke from the Wallow Fire. Photo taken from Pinetop's perspective by Jeff Krouskop

Updated at 5:32 p.m. MT, June 6, 2011; added updated map of Wallow fire and info about more evacuations.

Arizona is dealing with at least three major fires, Wallow, Horseshoe 2 and Murphy:

Wallow fire

Pushed by strong winds from thunderstorms, the Wallow fire at Alpine, Arizona crossed highway U.S. Hwy. 191 resulting in a flurry of fire activity around Alpine, Nutrioso and Escudilla Mountain. The fire has burned 192,746 233,522 acres according to InciWeb. (The revised acreage is the result of an infrared mapping flight Sunday night.) Containment is at 0%.

More evacuations have been ordered, this time for the communities of Greer and Sunrise. More information is at InciWeb and at the White Mountain Joint Information Center; the phone number is (928) 333-3412, and their web site is 593.org.


Wallow fire as seen from Molly Butler Lodge in Greer AZ
Wallow fire as seen from the Molly Butler Lodge in Greer, AZ. Captured off their web cam at 5:48 p.m. June 6, 2011.

Assigned to the fire are:

  • 2,315 firefighters, including 31 hotshot crews and 25 other hand crews
  • 12 dozers
  • 138 engines
  • 31 water tenders
  • 22 helicopters

A red flag warning is in effect on Monday between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. for low humidity — not good news for firefighters.

Area Command Team 3, with Jim Loach as Area Commander, was dispatched Monday morning to the fires in Arizona. Area Command Teams coordinate activities and firefighting resources among multiple fires and incident management teams.

Some very rough estimates, very rough, based on heat shown in satellite images early Monday morning, indicate that the fire is approximately 6 air miles from Greer, 11 miles from Eagar, 7 miles from Luna, and 35 miles from Morenci.

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.

(Scroll down to see maps and more information about the Wallow, Horseshoe 2, and Murphy fires.)

Here is an excerpt from an article at the Arizona Daily Star:

EAGAR – The Wallow Fire continued to grow Sunday, partly from burns set by crews working to contain it and partly from thunderheads that brought wind and lightning but no rain.

At least one structure burned in Nutrioso, and the fire flared up around Alpine as well. Both communities were evacuated Thursday.

Sparks whipped up by the thunderhead blew the fire across U.S. 180, sending it up the slopes of the 10,912-foot Escudilla Mountain and across the state line into New Mexico.

Between 100 and 300 people were evacuated from rural subdivisions and ranches in the fire’s path, said Brannon Eagar, undersheriff of Apache County.

Joe Reinarz, commander of the interagency team fighting the fire, told a community meeting that he had been pleased with Saturday’s operations to halt the fire’s advance toward Greer, Eagar and Springerville.

But the afternoon wind brought bad news.

“Mother Nature’s a cruel mistress sometimes, and she took it to us this afternoon,” said Reinarz.

Red flag conditions are predicted for today, as well.

Things were looking up earlier Sunday after what was described as a “moderate day” on the Wallow Fire on Saturday – even though it grew to 184,000 acres Saturday, a 40,000-acre increase over the day before.

The 184,000-acre figure, recorded by air during an infrared flyover Sunday morning, requires some explanation.

It includes the efforts of a 2,140-person army of firefighters on this fire. They burned back from 33 miles of new fire line, operations described as successful by Kelly Wood, spokesman for the two incident teams managing the fire.

The efforts to halt and tie together two northward advancing fingers of the fire could provide a defense for the resorts, cabins, historic lodges and seasonal homes in Greer, as well as for the 5,000 residents of Eagar and Springerville.

Below is a video report from Azfamily.com that focuses on the mobilization center at the Phoenix Interagency Fire Center.

Wallow fire Live cameras

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

  • Sunrise Ski Resort in Greer; web cam #2; may only be available from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MST.
  • Springerville, Round Valley High School (Near Eagar); click Time-Lapse
  • Molly Butler Lodge in Greer; click Time-Lapse
  • Greercabin.com (a view of a forest and a thermometer, no sky view)

Maps of the Wallow fire

June 5 Map of Wallow Fire
June 5 Map of Wallow Fire. The hand-drawn arrows indicate burnouts or firing operations initiated by firefighters. Mapped by the Incident Management Team.

(The map below is updated, and replaces an earlier version.)


Map of Wallow fire, data 1440 6-6-2011
(Click to enlarge.) Map of the Wallow fire, showing heat (the red squares) detected by satellites over the 6 hour period ending at 2:40 p.m. June 6. Two perimeters, the red lines, are shown; one mapped at 12:25 a.m. on 6-3-2011, and one mapped at 10:09 p.m. on 6-5-2011. MODIS/Google

Horseshoe 2 fire

Here is an update from the incident management team, dated 10:00 p.m., June 5:

Size: 100,075 acres, and 55% contained

Today’s Events:

Favorable weather conditions allowed fire fighters to continue to make progress today in securing the community of Paradise. The southwest portion of the fire is being monitored by engine crews to catch any hotspots near the fire line. Crews in the Chiricahua National Monument continued their protection efforts. Crews began work establishing containment lines on the northern portion of the fire in preparation of possible burnout operations to hold the fire south of Pinery Road and Chiricahua National Monument.

Plan for Tomorrow:

Crews will concentrate their efforts in prepping roads and containment lines along the northern flank of the fire in the event a burnout is required to slow the fires growth. Helicopters and retardant drops will be used to slow the forward rate of spread until the preparation can be completed. Protection efforts will continue in Chiricahua National Monument. Other portions of the fire’s perimeter will be mopped-up to extinguish any remaining hotspots.

Below is a map showing heat detected by satellites on the Horseshoe 2 fire. There was no recent heat picked up by the satellites on the south half of the fire.

Map of north half of Horseshoe 2 fire, data 0332 6-6-2011
Map of the north portion of the Horseshoe 2 fire, showing heat (the red and yellow squares) detected by satellites over the 24 hour period ending at 3:32 a.m. June 6. An earlier perimeter, the red line, was mapped at 5:36 a.m. 6-3-2011. MODIS/Google

Murphy fire

The Murphy fire is near the Mexico/Arizona border, 5 miles east of Arivaca, AZ and 4 miles west of Tubac, AZ. It has burned 37,566 acres and is 15% contained.

Here is an excerpt from an update by the incident management team on June 6:

Concerns: The Pajarita Fire started yesterday afternoon southwest of the Murphy Fire in the Pajarita Wilderness just 1 ½ miles north of the international border. That fire is several hundred acres at this time and is traveling in a northeastern direction towards the Murphy Fire.

Summary: The Northern Arizona Incident Management Team has taken command of the Pajarita Fire that started southwest of the Murphy Fire yesterday and is currently under investigation. Strategic burn out operations that were conducted over the past few days are now completed and have significantly decreased fire risk to the Aliso Springs and Peck Canyon communities. Fire crews today will continue to conduct burn out operations from Drop Point 94 just south of Lion Mountain and Wise Mesa south to Pena Blanca Lake. There are no threats to structures and no planned or anticipated evacuations at this time.

Murphy fire map 0332 6-6-2011
Map of the Murphy and Pajarita fires, showing heat (the red and yellow dots) detected by satellites, with data current at 3:32 a.m. June 6. An earlier perimeter, the red line, was mapped at 9:00 a.m. 6-2-2011. MODIS/Google


We posted an update on these fires June 7, 2011.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

20 thoughts on “Update on Arizona fires, June 6, 2011”

  1. As bad as the old Ash Canyon fire. Hope to say hi to you all soon Dad!Don’t let the house burn down if you can help it

  2. I am going to Heber next week, does anyone know if the smoke has traveled to Heber.

    My prayers to all

  3. Cannot tell by most of the maps — Are any of the fires ANYWHERE near Heber/Overgaard?

    1. The large fires are quite a bit east and south of Heber. Here is a link to a map that shows the locations of large fires in the US.

  4. Going to Phoenix on Tuesday. Should I delay the trip? Is there a map showing the fire in relation to the rest of Arizona… and New Mexico??

        1. Which link? But try again, due to heavy traffic to the site during this fire situation, it is sometimes slow to load, or sometimes will not load at all. But this usually only lasts for a minute or two.

          Or you can go to the Wildfire Examiner; most of the articles are cross-posted there.

  5. Hey Gary O’Brien – folks like Duwanee who are charter members of the Flat Earth Society, live for their paranoia mind flights – they’re harmless and it keeps the conversation going at the local watering hole.

  6. everyone knows they are geo-engineering the planet WHY CAN’T THEY JUST SEED THE CLOUDS TO MAKE IT RAIN……they don’t want to admit it, that’s why.

    Because then they would have to take the blame as well……..

    All that flame retardant is toxic and to seed the clouds to make it rain WHICH THEY HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE TO DO……would be far better.

    1. Duwanee. There are no clouds to seed. It’s the dry season in Arizona. Pull out of the conspiracy theory world and pay attention to reality.

    2. Duwanee, You must have your head in the clouds and maybe we should seed it!! The Fire Retardant is not toxic, it is mostly water and the red color, Iron Oxide, is just there to make it visable from the air. Cloud seeding is only in Hollywood movies!

      I pray for the safety of everyone treatened and involved!

  7. …lived thru the rodeo-chediski fire in 2002 in the pinetop-lakeside area, ironically had to evacuate to springerville area for better part of 2 weeks. Will definitely be praying…no doubt there will be miracles where God literally causes the flames to skip homes and properties. You all are in my prayers and many others’…

  8. This is the 2nd biggest widlfire in arizona history but it’s really close to the first.

  9. I was in greer no more than 4 weeks ago and I left a day before the greer lodge burnt down. I think the rest of greer is going to burn down. I am whishing prayers so this horrible fire can stop.

  10. The smoke is growing more intense here in Elgin. Today it was noticeable inside the house even with all doors and windows shut. I am worried about my animals and in general my family’s health as we breath this in day in and out, as well as our safety.

  11. This is terrible… Im in Pomerene and I had to shut the windows the blow off was burning my eyes and lungs… those poor people closer and amid it all are in my thoughts and prayers. I feel so helpless.


Comments are closed.