Burnout Activities Increase Smoke Visibility on Rattlesnake Fire

April 24, 2018 - 12:11 pm

The Rattlesnake Fire put up more smoke today due to tactical ground firing operations and planned aerial ignitions that helped to consume unburned fuels and strengthen control lines. Firefighters plan on completing the last mile or so of firing along the edge of Road 25 east to the junction with Highway 191. When weather and operational progress dictate, tactical firing operations will continue from Highway 191 west along the southern edge of the Bear Wallow Wilderness to join up with firefighters burning out coming from the west. Fire crews supporting the firing operation worked to secure the edge of their control lines and mopped up hot spots. Mop up and fire line suppression repair will continue over the next several days. Initial attack resources remain at the ready for immediate response.

Safety: Motorists should be prepared again for possible delays due to pilot cars and/or a temporary road closure as firefighters conduct burnout operations along Forest Road 25 and the 309 Trail up to Highway 191. Timing of the firing operations, scheduled for early this morning, will be dictated by safety, weather, and operational progress. ADOT personnel are in position to implement safety measures if and when the highway is affected by smoke and fire. Checkpoints will be located at Hannagan Meadow to the north and Stray Horse to the south on Highway 191.

Weather: A warming trend continues to bring higher daytime temps, dryer relative humidity and light winds from the west. No significant wind events are forecast for the next several days. We expect smoke to drift to the east then shift and settle into Eagle Creek, Blue River and San Francisco upper Gila River valleys overnight. On Tuesday valley smoke should lift out by 9a.m., and drift to the east throughout the day then shift and settle to the south. The heaviest smoke impacts will peak from 3-5p.m. over the next few days on highway 191 between mile markers 226 north to 245, visibility could be limited to 1.5 miles.

Values: Resource advisors deployed on the Rattlesnake Fire are identifying values at risk so that firefighters can employ tactics to reduce impacts to threatened and endangered species and their habitat because of fire suppression activities.

Closures: Closures are in place on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, White Mountain Apache Reservation and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Visit the Rattlesnake Fire Inciweb page for details.

Restrictions: Monday the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests entered into Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in order to reduce human-caused fires and protect public safety. San Carlos Apache Reservation implemented Stage 2 Fire Restrictions on April 17, 2018. Modified Stage 2 Fire Restrictions continue on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

Fire Information:

Location: Southeast of Whiteriver, AZ

Start date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Resources: Approximately 544 personnel

Cause: Human Caused-under investigation

Size: 19,049 acres

Percent containment: 25%

Vegetation: Ponderosa pine and grass understudy

For more information:

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5740 

BIA Fort Apache Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BIAFAAFireMgt/

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/asnf/fire/?cid=fseprd538403

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality https://www.phoenixvis.net/PPMmain.aspx