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.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Light rain and snow on the Tinder Fire in Arizona”

  1. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone who knows anything about wildfires admit that “percent containment” could conceivably be meaningless. Even here, it’s “can be” instead of a blunt statement of the mathematical fact: dividing the very vaguely measured perimeter of everywhere a fire has been by the very vaguely estimated and continuously-changing location of the fire is a mathematical absurdity, and yields an utterly meaningless number at best (even without the added complication that such a perimeter is a fractal, and therefore the ‘length’ itself is meaningless). And yet every news report about every fire anywhere reports this completely absurd number as if it meant something.

    I have one cubic foot of poisonous gas 17% contained, because it’s on the ground. Right? I have a rabid dog 99% contained, because I built a fence around 99% of the places the dog has ever been (it’s running through the gap as we speak). Right? A fire that started in Los Angeles is 99% contained because the only remaining active fire line is the part that threatens Boston in the north and Washington DC in the south. Right? No, not right. Dividing all the places that have been put out by the total of that plus where it’s burning now is and always will be meaningless.

  2. Looking like a nasty season through all of the Southwest this year. Prayers and good thoughts for all of the Firefighters throughout the season.jw


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