Firefighting train used on Kearney River Fire

Firefighting Train Kearney
A firefighting train working on the Kearney River Fire. Screen grab from AZcentral video.

A firefighting train was used on the Kearny River Fire near Kearny, Arizona this week. Below is an excerpt from an article at AZcentral, which also has a video of the train in action.

…Arizona State Forestry spokesman Mike Reichling said this was the first time he had seen a train used at the scene of a wildfire. Two Copper Basin Railway cars equipped with water cannons have been blasting hot spots along the Gila River bed near Kearny, about 85 miles southeast of Phoenix. While helicopters and dozers have been tackling the fire, the train has played a key role.

“We work very closely with the firefighters,” Railway President Jake Jacobson said. “We can help to provide them water in remote places.”

The water tank cars, which are only operated by Copper Basin employees, have been focusing on dousing hot spots while they ride the tracks. Each car can hold 15,000 gallons of water and disperse it as far as 250 feet, Jacobson said. The rail tank cars were transformed as water tank cars in the mid-1990s. Based in Hayden, the Arizona short-line railroad stretches 54 miles from Magma to Winkelman.

We have written about firefighting trains twice before, using the tag Water Train.

More information about the Kearny River Fire (which has not spread much in the last day or two). The incident management team on June 19 called it 1,428 acres and 40 percent contained.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jason.

Arizona: Kearney River Fire

(UPDATE at 10:05 p.m. MT, June 20, 2015)

Not much new information is available about the Kearney River Fire at Kearney, Arizona. The satellite has not detected any new heat in the last 24 hours, and the incident management team is calling it 1,428 acres and 40 percent contained.


(UPDATE at 4:50 p.m. MDT, June 18, 2014)

The Kearney River Fire is now reported to be 1,100 acres. Firefighters are conducting burnout operations on the north side of the fire which will put more smoke into the air.


(UPDATE at 8:18 a.m. MDT, June 18, 2015)

Kearney River fire 333 am MDT June 18, 2015
Map showing heat detected on the Kearney River Fire (the red and brown squares) by a satellite at 3:33 a.m. MDT June 18, 2015. The red icons are the most recent.

Above is the most recent data available about the location of the Kearney River Fire at Kearney, Arizona. It continued spreading to the north after the previous map 12 hours earlier. The Incident Management Team in a Thursday morning update increased the reported size from 300 to 400 acres, but looking at the map, it appears to be larger.

The weather forecast for Thursday is not helpful for the firefighters, with a prediction of 113 degrees, winds out of the northwest at 10 to 15 mph, and a minimum relative humidity of 6 percent.


Kearney River Fire Arizona
People in the Breeezeway Trailer Park watch as the Kearny River Fire continues to move north through the dense vegetation of the Gila River bottom north of Kearny, Arizona. Photo by Tom Story.

Tom Story, who took these photos for us, said the Kearney River Fire near Kearney, Arizona “has split, with one end backing into the wind and the southern end of the fire being driven by 10 to 15 mph winds. The town of Kearny is pretty safe but several structures have been lost at this time. 108 degrees 11 percent.”

The fire has burned 300 acres, as well as two residences, two outbuildings, and one vehicle. The evacuation order has been lifted for some parts of Kearney.

It was reported at 11:03 a.m. on June 17.

Kearney River Fire
The northwest end of the Kearney River Fire backs into the wind through heavy fuels in the Gila River bottom near Kearney, Arizona, June 17, 2015. Photo by Tom Story.
Kearney Fire at 340 pm MDT June 17, 2015
Map showing heat detected by a satellite on the Kearney Fire at 3:40 p.m. MDT June 17, 2015.