Copper Canyon Fire forces closure of Hwy 60 north of Globe, AZ

Over 2,500 acres have burned

Updated at 12:28 p.m. MDT May 9, 2021

The Copper Canyon Fire north of Globe, Arizona has burned 2,560 acres. Here is the latest information from the Incident Management Team at 10:24 p.m. MDT May 8 2021:

“Overnight firing operations were successful and firefighters were able to tie in the Copper Canyon Fire to the 2020 Griffin Burn scar on the northeastern edge. A pocket of unburned fuel remains on that side, and within the interior of the fire, and may produce visible smoke when afternoon winds pick up. Today, crews will monitor the southern and western edges of the fire and begin mop up. While fire activity has significantly decreased, Sunday’s afternoon winds are of concern as gusts up to 30 miles per hour are forecasted in the area. No change in acreage or containment has been reported as of Sunday morning.

“US 60 remains closed in both directions outside of Globe as the Arizona Department of Transportation evaluates the damage to the guardrails near mile marker 253. Call 511 or check ADOT’s social media channels for traffic and road closure information.”

8:55 a.m. MDT May 8, 2021

map Copper Canyon Fire
Map showing the approximate location of the Copper Canyon Fire 11:30 p.m. MDT May 7, 2021. A portion of it appears to have burned into the Griffin Fire of August, 2020.

The Copper Canyon Fire that started in dry vegetation at about 12:30 p.m. Friday was pushed northeast by strong winds. Eleven hours later it was mapped at 2,500 acres. A portion of the fire has burned into the footprint of the Griffin Fire that blackened over 61,800 acres in August of 2020. It has been running roughly parallel to Highway 60, which is now closed. There are about seven miles of open country ahead of it until the north and east sides become trapped in the area burned last year.

The Copper Canyon Fire is spreading toward ranches, mines, utility infrastructure, and local grazing allotments. Crews are actively engaged in structure protection for the potentially impacted properties. As of 1:52 a.m. on Saturday there were no evacuations in effect.

Aircraft including a Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT), a Large Air Tanker, Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs), and Air Attack are assisting an estimated 100 fire personnel on the ground.

Friday night a weather station south of Globe detected 5 to 10 mph winds gusting out of the south and southwest at 10 to 15 mph. At 7:06 a.m. on Saturday it recorded 67 degrees, 14 percent relative humidity, and winds out of the east at 7 mph gusting to 13 mph. West to southwest winds are expected to become breezy to very breezy again during the afternoons on Saturday and Sunday with gusts generally reaching upwards of 20-25 mph. Minimum RH values will generally remain around 9-15%.

Copper Canyon Fire, May 7, 2020
Copper Canyon Fire, May 7, 2020. AZ State Forestry photo.
Copper Canyon Fire, May 7, 2020
Copper Canyon Fire, May 7, 2020. AZ State Forestry photo.


7 p.m. MDT May 7, 2021

Copper Canyon Fire
Map showing the location of heat detected by satellites over the Copper Canyon Fire at 2:54 p.m. MDT May 7, 2021.

The Copper Canyon Fire about 3 miles north of Globe, Arizona has forced the closure of Highway 60 north of the Highway 70 intersection. The fire is about 60 air miles east of Mesa.

At 5:58 p.m. MDT the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management reported the fire had burned about 1,300 acres and had crossed Highway 60, forcing its closure.

Single engine air tankers and two larger air tankers, a DC-10 and an RJ85, have been seen working on the fire.

Copper Canyon Fire
Copper Canyon Fire crosses Hwy. 60, May 7, 2021; AZ State Forestry.
Copper Canyon Fire
Copper Canyon Fire, May 7, 2021. AZ State Forestry.
Copper Canyon Fire map
Aircraft over the Copper Canyon Fire at about 6:12 p.m. MDT May 7, 2021.

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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.