Central Fire spreads east from New River, AZ

Central fire mapped Sunday night at 4,517 acres

(UPDATED at 11:40 a.m. MDT June 22, 2020)

Central Fire Bush Bighorn Arizona wildfire map
3-D map showing the Central Fire which was mapped at 12:08 a.m. MDT June 22, 2020. The Bush and Bighorn Fires can be seen in the distance.

The Central Fire just east of New River, Arizona spread to the east Sunday to the top of New River Mesa, growing to 4,517 acres according to a mapping flight at 12:08 a.m Monday.

At a virtual community meeting Sunday night Ralph Lucas, the Operations Section Chief of Alan Sinclair’s Type 1 incident management team running both the Central and Bush Fires, said he did not expect the Central Fire to grow much more:

But when I last spoke to the Incident Commander on the Central Fire, he was confident with what they had going on, and thinks that we might be able to get around this thing and not see a drastic increase in acreage, but only time will tell depending on the weather and the wind.

Skycrane “Isabelle” N178AC, a Sikorsky S-64F fire wildfire
Skycrane “Isabelle” N178AC, a Sikorsky S-64F from Erickson Incorporated fills her 2,500 gallon tank at the Rancho Manana Golf Club while fighting the nearby Central Fire burning in the Tonto National Forest near New River, AZ on June 21, 2020. Photo by John Hall.


(Originally published at 12:47 p.m. MDT June 21, 2020)

DC-10 air tanker Central Fire
Air Tanker 914, a DC-10, drops retardant on the Central Fire, June 20, 2020. Photo by JDH Images.

Eleven months ago firefighters battled a wildfire north of Phoenix about 35 miles north of Phoenix, 4 miles east of Interstate 17. There was confusion about the name of the fire, switching from Central to Daisy and back to Central.

Saturday the same thing happened in the same location. A fire started in the footprint of the 2019 Central Fire. The name changed from Central to Daisy and back to Central.

Central Fire Arizona Phoenix
Red dots represent heat on the June 20, 2020 Central Fire detected by a satellite at 3:21 p.m. MDT June 20, 2020. Retardant from the July 20, 2019 Central Fire is visible in the background satellite photo taken August 12, 2019.

In the satellite photo above taken August 12, 2019, 23 days after the first Central Fire, you can make out retardant which was dropped by air tankers. Within those retardant lines are superimposed red dots representing heat on the June 20, 2020 Central Fire detected by a satellite at 3:21 p.m. MDT June 20, 2020.

Last year’s Central Fire burned between 503 and 800 acres.

Central Fire information Arizona

The Southwest Coordination Center lists the current Central Fire at 2,000 acres. Since the Saturday afternoon overflight, satellites have not been able to detect any large heat sources on the fire, but it is likely burning, or was burning, in light fuels such as grass, and cooled quickly between overflights.

Last year we made the map below:

Map Arizona location Central Fire
Map showing the location of the Central Fire 35 miles north of Phoenix at 3:21 p.m. MDT July 20, 2019.

The Incident Management Team on the Bush Fire northeast of Phoenix is managing the Central Fire.

The Bush Fire grew Saturday by 9,171 acres to bring the total up to 184,531 acres. Firefighters have had success in recent days stopping the spread at Highways 87 and 188. They are closely watching the south side as it backs slowly downhill through light vegetation to Apache Lake and the Salt River.

Central and Bush Fires Phoenix
The Central and Bush Fires in the Phoenix Area, June 21, 2020.

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+

One thought on “Central Fire spreads east from New River, AZ”

  1. The dispatch center from which this fire naming originated, had never switched the name to Daisy. It was “Central Fire” from the moment it started. Somehow along the way things got muddled and then the social media perpetuated the mis-information, as it has the tendency to do at times.
    Thanks for all you do Bill!

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