The Hilltop Fire was relatively quiet yesterday, showing limited smoke and gaining only 2,420 acres. Clouds and periods of higher humidity helped calm the fire. The fire remains on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, about 30 miles northwest of San Carlos and 15 miles southwest of Canyon Day.
Start Date: June 25, 2017
Estimated Acres: 28,077
Location: 30 miles NW of San Carlos, 15 miles SW of Canyon Day
Fuels: Timber (litter and understory), short grass, logging slash
Resources Assigned: 874
Firefighters continue to make progress toward controlling the fire. Much of the strategy depends on building a box of control lines around the Hilltop Fire. Where it is safe to do so, control lines are built directly along the edge of the fire. Steep, broken terrain and poor access often require building indirect lines away from the fire’s edge. Firefighters construct these indirect lines in places where they have a better chance of safely stopping the fire's spread. On the Hilltop Fire, firefighters are developing a plan to complete a box of direct and indirect control lines.
Yesterday, bulldozers completed a fireline from the 1197 road northeast along the ridge, about one half mile east of the northeast edge of the fire. The 1100 road has been prepped as a control line on the east of the fire. Progress along the 1343 road and the west edge of the fire has allowed some firefighters and equipment to be shifted to other areas that require additional work. Today, firefighters hope to finish the firelines down to the Salt and Black Rivers. On the north side of the Salt River, firelines are being prepared in case the Hilltop Fire crosses the river.
Firefighters are using controlled ignitions to burn vegetation between the current fire edge and the firelines. Fire personnel carefully monitor the fuels, weather, and terrain, and only ignite when the conditions are favorable. Where slopes are moderate and personnel have good access, crews can apply fire on the ground. Many areas of the Hilltop Fire are rugged or remote and therefore unsafe to ignite by hand. Instead, these areas are ignited by helicopters that drop small plastic balls containing a flammable chemical that ignites on contact with the ground. By controlling the speed and direction of the ignitions, firefighters aim for a low-intensity fire. Using these techniques, firefighters plan to gradually contain the fire within the planning box. Over the next few days, an increase in acreage will likely result from these burnout operations.
Firefighting resources continue to patrol and monitor areas on both the White Mountain Apache and San Carlos Apache Reservations. Firefighters on the White Mountain Apache side are helping to prepare structure protection plans that could be used if the Hilltop Fire, or any future fire, threatens the area.
The weather forecast calls for a gradual increase in the chance of rain through the weekend and into next week. Lightning continues to be a concern, bringing the possibility of new fire starts.
There are currently no pre-evacuation notices in place for the Canyon Day and Cedar Creek communities. Residents should remain prepared and stay informed regarding the status of the fire. If fire becomes well established on the north side of the Salt River, pre-evacuation notices will be restored. A closure order remains in place for those lands located within the boundaries of the Hilltop Fire area. Please see the Closure notice on Inciweb for more details.
Fire Information: (928) 358-5757 (8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.)
Email: [email protected]
Wildfire updates will be provided each day at 10:00 a.m. on KNNB Radio at 88.1 FM.