(To see all articles on Wildfire Today, including the most recent, click HERE.)
The Woodbury Fire 12 miles east of the Phoenix suburbs became very active on the northeast side Tuesday beginning at about 2 p.m., sending up another large column of smoke that blew off to the northeast. It added another 3,894 acres to bring the total up to 44,451 acres.
On Wednesday fire crews are preparing for the possibility of the fire moving north towards Roosevelt and east towards the Pinto Mine along Pinto Canyon. Firefighters will be using burnouts and existing black lines to divert fire from the Reavis Ranch, Roosevelt, and mining operations. They will continue the preparations along 500 KV power lines to make them more defensible, masticating brush and building bulldozer lines where appropriate.
The smoke is expected to spread to the east on Saturday, becoming noticeable in Southern New Mexico and Western Texas.
The 40,000-acre Woodbury Fire 12 miles east of the Phoenix suburbs is large, but it is nowhere near as big as the five largest in the recorded history of the state, according to the graphic prepared by the Phoenix office of the National Weather Service.
The Woodbury Fire 12 miles east of the Phoenix suburbs has burned 40,557 acres, mostly in the Tonto National Forest in the 11 days since it started. The agency is not attempting to completely suppress it, but instead is using a variety of strategies.
(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Woodbury Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)
The weather forecast for the fire area over the next seven days looks very static, with high temperatures in the Tortilla Flat area around 100 degrees and no expectation of precipitation. The wind should be about 8 to 10 mph out of the south and southwest during the daylight hours.
Resources assigned to the fire include 18 hand crews, 34 engines, and 6 helicopters, for a total of 747 personnel.
The smoke forecast for 6 p.m. MDT on Tuesday shows the smoke plume from the fire being pushed off to the northeast, away from the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
Below is a summary of Monday’s activities released by the Incident Management Team at 9 p.m. on Monday.
[Monday]: Early this morning helicopters used aerial ignition and began a low intensity fire in the Reavis Ranch area to reduce vegetation in front of the advancing fire. These efforts were taken to protect Mexican spotted owl habitat, some stands of ponderosa pine and an old apple orchard As predicted, the fire moved east through the area today from Iron Mountain/Angel Basin, creating a large smoke plume and dropping ash as far as the communities of Tonto Basin and Roosevelt. While increased smoke and ash will continue in coming days, at this time there are no evacuations in place for these communities. All evacuation notices, if needed, will come directly from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.
Heli-rappellers and hotshot crews joined efforts to fight fire near Hewitt Ridge today. The hotshots will remain in the area overnight. Other hotshots completed suppression efforts in the Buzzard Roost area along the boundary of Forest and State lands. Retardant drops in the Coffee Flat /Valley Canyon area were effective in preventing fire spread; crews will be used to reinforce the line as needed. All of these suppression actions help tie together a contiguous line around the fire, and stop its spread southwest towards State and private lands, and local communities. Retardant and water drops were also used successfully in other areas of the fire.
Structure protection and fuels reduction efforts continue on the north boundary of the fire along State Highway 88, including mowing of roadside fuels in the road corridor and around power transmission poles. Heavy equipment is being used on the northeast and east sides of the fire to improve roads and protect the 500 KV lines that provide power for Phoenix. Protection for other infrastructure is in development.
Closures: State Highway 88 is closed from Needle Vista east to the junction of State Highway 88 and State Highway 188. This includes Tortilla Flat, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, and campsites along State Highway 88.
Four wildfires are currently burning 30 to 90 miles east and northeast of Phoenix, Arizona.
The Woodbury Fire in the Superstition Mountains 8 miles northwest of Superior has burned about 5,000 acres on the Tonto National Forest since it started June 8. Tuesday morning the Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team will assume command of the fire, which is spreading in thick brush on extremely steep and rugged terrain.
The Mountain Fire is now in patrol and mopup status after burning 7,470 acres since it started on June 7 four miles northwest of Bartlett Reservoir. Two hand crews and two engine are assigned today.
The Coldwater Fire, seven miles northeast of Pine, is producing moderate to heavy smoke in the mornings between 3 and 9 a.m. along State Route 87, and intermittently in the afternoons. It has blackened 9,665 acres of Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer since it started May 30.
The Bylas Fire (at the community of the same name) 22 miles southeast of San Carlos along U.S. 70 has burned about 300 acres in the Gila Valley. It started June 8 and a Type 3 Incident Management Team has been ordered.
The Bureau of Land Management reported Sunday evening that the fire had burned 80 acres and most of the resources were being released. However, some would remain on scene overnight others will staff it today, Monday.
(Originally published at 4:53 p.m. PDT March 31, 2019)
Firefighters are working on the Beach Fire burning on the banks of the Colorado River at Body Beach in Lake Havasu City, AZ. At about 3:45 p.m. PDT fire officials said the northeast wind had picked up and it was moving the fire, which was 40 acres at that time, south along the shoreline on land managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. County and Bureau of Land Management structures were being threatened.
BLM, San Bernardino County Fire, and other departments were on scene.
These photos were shot from a San Bernardino County FD fire boat.