Firing operations continue at Rattlesnake Fire

April 26, 2018 - 1:29 pm

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

The Rattlesnake fire is approximately 23,258 acres in size and 32 percent contained. The fire is human caused and under investigation. Resources include approximately 593 personnel.

Fire activity:  Firefighters are taking advantage of a short window of warm dry weather by conducting critical burnout operations in order to strengthen containment lines encircling the Rattlesnake Fire. Yesterday’s firing operations produced an increase in smoke production and will continue today.  On Tuesday afternoon winds carried spot fires across the control lines north of Forest Road 25. Ground crews, helicopters, and air tankers have actively responded to the containment of the spot fire and will continue to reinforce lines in that area.

Some firefighting crews have reached the end of their assignment. Replacements, including three hotshot crews and two type 2 crews, reported to the fire yesterday filling in behind them. A night operation has been implemented to hold fire lines.

The western flank of the fire is well contained, particularly due to a prescribed fire in the area last fall. Suppression repair measures are being implemented on the west and northern fire flanks where the fire activity has been suppressed.

Safety:  Fire activities adjacent to Highway 191 and smoke from burnout operations have increased traffic congestion and reduced visibility. For public and firefighter safety, motorists will be escorted on Highway 191 from Hannagan Meadows to the north and Stray Horse to the south for approximately 8 miles.

Weather:  Changes are in the forecast beginning this afternoon and into Saturday. Light winds will come from the west and northwest. There is a 10% chance of precipitation and a 20% chance of lightning on Friday. Those numbers increase to 30% on Saturday.   We expect smoke to drift to the east then potentially shift and settle into Eagle Creek, Blue River and San Francisco upper Gila River valleys overnight.  Valley smoke should lift by 9a.m.

Values:  Resource advisors on the Rattlesnake Fire have many values at risk to consider, some of which include   endangered species and aquatic life found only in local lakes and streams. These advisors work hand-in-hand with fire managers so that they can employ fire suppression tactics to reduce impacts to these irreplaceable values.

Road and Area Closures:  Closures are in place on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, White Mountain Apache Reservation and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.  They are being adjusted based on fire activity. Visit the Rattlesnake Fire Inciweb page for details. 

Fire 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.


BIA Fort Apache Facebook:

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality: