Firefighters make excellent progress on containment of Rattlesnake Fire

April 22, 2018 - 9:47 pm

The Rattlesnake Fire is located approximately 43 miles southeast of Whiteriver, 20 miles southwest of Alpine, and over 50 miles northwest of San Carlos, burning on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, San Carlos Indian Reservation and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

The Rattlesnake Fire is an estimated 25 percent contained and approximately 15,423 acres in size.

Firefighters are making excellent progress improving the containment of the Rattlesnake Fire. Improving weather conditions allow for continued safe fireline construction along both the east and west flanks of the fire to the southeast. Hand crews are using firing operations to remove unburnt fuels from previously constructed firelines. Aerial ignition operations are being utilized to remove islands of unburned surface fuels within the interior of the fire. Contingency plans are in place to mitigate adverse smoke effects along the Highway 191 corridor to the east of the fire.

Today's firing operations were limited to aerial ignition on unburned islands in Division Foxtrot. Minimal interior fire was observed.

Weather Concerns: Strengthening high pressure tomorrow will bring mainly clear skies and a slight warming and drying trend. Highs will reach the 69-74 degree range with relative humidity falling to 10-15 percent in the afternoon. Clear skies are expected overnight tonight with lows in the 32-37 degree range.

Planned Actions: Continue prepping containment lines and burning operations. Hold established containment lines and minimize adverse fire effects to identified values at risk. Aerial ignitions may occur on Sunday.

Project Incident Activity: Firing operations will continue to carry fire eastward with the intent of strengthening control lines ahead of interior fire spread. Unburned islands in Division Foxtrot were ignited and will continue to burn overnight.

Public Meeting: A public meeting was held Thursday evening at the Alpine Community Center. Approximately 175 people attended.

Fire Details

Cause: Human-caused, under investigation

Start date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Vegetation:  Ponderosa pine and grass understory

Resources: Approximately 545 personnel