Strong winds push Woodbury Fire north and east

Firefighters have been burning out from structures and roads — evacuations are still in place

3-D map Woodbury Fire
3-D map of the Woodbury Fire looking west. The red line was the perimeter at 10:12 p.m. MDT June 20. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:48 a.m. MDT June 21. Click to enlarge.

For the last several days most of the growth of the Woodbury Fire east of Phoenix has been to the east and northeast, but variable strong overnight winds caused a previously quiet area of the fire to spread significantly to the north.  During a 3:48 a.m. MDT satellite overflight on Friday the fire had come to within 2 miles of Apache Trail about nine air miles east of Tortilla Flat. (See the map, above, of the Woodbury Fire)

The night shift that included four Hotshot Crews conducted burnouts on the east side of Highwa 188 six miles southeast of the community of Roosevelt northeast of the junction with Desert to Tall Pines Highway, and in other locations where needed to protect infrastructure.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Woodbury Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)

The fire is not being fully suppressed. Instead, a variety of strategies are being used.

At about 10 p.m. on Thursday the fire was mapped from an aircraft at 65,903 acres but it continued spreading vigorously after that fixed wing flight.

Resources assigned to the fire include at least 21 hand crews, 28 engines, 8 helicopters and an unknown number of air tankers, for a total of  1,112 personnel. One of the air tankers, a DC-10, reportedly flew four missions Thursday dropping a total of 37,000 gallons of fire retardant. Approximately $10.9 has been spent on the fire so far.

On Thursday the fire continued moving through Reevis Creek into the Two Bar area. Additional significant growth was observed near the Reevis Mountain School, Granite Mountain near Little Campaign Creek, and the Blackberry Spring area. The fire is also in the west fork of Pinto Creek which prompted crews to burnout around the Rock Springs Barn and Corrals as well as the Miles Ranch Trailhead.

Structure protection is now in place at Top of the World and the Roosevelt area. This includes building firelines and prepositioning hose lays and portable water sources.

map Woodbury Fire Arizona Phoenix
Map of the Woodbury Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 10:12 p.m. MDT June 20. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:48 a.m. MDT June 21.

State Highway 88 is closed from milepost 213 at Tortilla Flat to State Highway 188 at Roosevelt. State Highway 188 is closed from State Highway 88 just west of Roosevelt at milepost 244 to State Highway 288. For current Arizona Department of Transportation information visit https://az511.gov/.

For information about evacuations, shelters, livestock and pet shelters call: 928-402-8888.

The weather forecast for the Roosevelt area on Friday calls for 88 degrees, southwest winds of 17 mph gusting to 24, and relative humidity of 19 percent. The weather on Saturday should be about the same.

A Red Flag Warning for extreme fire weather is in effect through Friday evening for the northeast part of Arizona just outside of the Woodbury Fire area. Much of New Mexico is also under a Red Flag Warning through Saturday evening.

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. Google+

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