As predicted the fire became active Tuesday with higher temperatures. The fire flanked to the east into upper Moore Creek drainage and made several uphill runs to the Rim where it slopped over the Rim and the 300 road. Air tankers were used to slow the forward progress and crews and dozers are working to establish containment of the slopover. Helicopters and air tankers also applied water and retardant to the west flank and along the Myrtle Trail on the east flank.
Firefighters plan to try to hold the fire at the Myrtle Trail to keep the fire from advancing east out of the upper Moore Creek drainage. The primary containment line along the Highline Trail held Tuesday and crews worked to improve containment along the trail’s length near the fire’s southern flank. Firefighters are being challenged by inaccessible step rough terrain, rolling debris, high temperatures, and extremely dry fuels. Crews are improving contingency lines along the Control Road and around communities south of the fire including clearing brush, installing water sources and construct dozer line.
Acres: 933 acres (based on infrared flight)
Start Date: June 10, 2017
Cause: Unknown, under investigation
Origin Location: 8 mi N of Payson in the 1990 Dude Fire Scar
Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy dead and down, Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer
Total personnel: 642
Tuesday night, fire crews will work to hold the fire north of Highline Trail, south of the 300 road and establish new line at the head of Moore Creek. Crews will patrol for spot fires and improve containment lines. Along the Highline Trail below upper Moore Creek, firefighters will use strategic firing operations to remove unburned fuels between primary containment lines and the main fire.
Tuesday night topography will drive fire behavior. Fire activity is expected to decrease overnight as temperatures cool. Down canyon winds may develop resulting in the fire backing downslope toward Highline Trail containment line. Down canyon winds may bring overnight smoke to communities in low lying areas south of the fire.
Hotter, drier weather is expected to increase over the next few days. Unstable atmosphere over the fire has resulted in increased fire behavior. Temperatures are predicted to climb over the next several days producing critically low humidities and fuel moisture increasing fire behavior.
A Highline Fire Community Meeting was held Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. at the Starlight Pines Community Center in Blue Ridge, AZ.
No evacuation orders are in effect at this time. A Precautionary Pre-Evacuation Notification is in effect for residents in Bonita Creek community. It is important for residents in these areas to be prepared as conditions can change rapidly.
Coconino and Tonto National Forests (NF) Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions on the Tonto NF remain in effect.
Firefighters are working to limit the fire’s spread and protect values at risk where they can do so safely and effectively. These values include watersheds, private inholdings and local communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, federally listed and sensitive species, and nationally and regionally significant trail systems.
Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)
InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/ (Air Quality info, County Emergency Alert sign-up link, Firewise tips)