Frye Fire Update; Helicopters work to reinforce control lines in Old Columbine area

June 18, 2017 - 10:12 am

The Frye fire is burning in the Ash Creek, Hawk Hollow, Frye Canyon, Frye Mesa, and Deadman Canyon areas. The fire has reached Ash Creek Falls, northeast of the Old Columbine cabins and has progressed into Oak Flat. The fire has reached Frye Canyon and firing operations were initiated to contain the fire’s spread and protect the Mount Graham International Observatory and continue towards Old Columbine Cabins and Bible Camp to protect them from the main fire. Preparations are complete and sprinklers are in place for structure protection.

Helicopters are working to reinforce control lines around the Old Columbine area. Additional burnouts and helicopter drops were conducted to stop fire spread on Frye Mesa. A significant volume of smoke continues to be visible from the surrounding local areas, Tucson and beyond. Critically low relative humidity and extreme high temperatures continue to contribute to increased fire activity.

Firefighters have improved 15 miles of control lines on Forest Road 507 around the Observatory, Old Columbine, and the Bible Camp. Crews will continue preparing control lines from Old Columbine to Peter’s Flat.

Temporary flight restrictions remain in effect until further notice. This restriction includes “drones” or any unmanned aerial vehicles. The public is reminded that “If you fly, we can’t!”

CLOSURES: An area Closure is in effect which includes all campgrounds, roadways and trail systems north of Shannon Campground at the junction of Hwy 366 and Forest Road 507 where the pavement ends. Graham County Sheriff’s Office will stop any non-fire traffic at this point to maintain safety. State trust lands are not public lands and therefore access will be restricted to lease holders only.

Scope of the Order: The closure order will remain in effect until rescinded and involves the following: Treasure Park, Hospital Flat, Upper Hospital Flat, Cunningham, Soldier Creek, Columbine Corrals, Riggs Flat, Clark Peak Corrals and all previously listed trails north of Highway 366 continuing to the Forest boundary (additional closures will be forthcoming). Follow updated releases at for additional closures.

Fire Restrictions:  Stage 1 fire restrictions are in effect on the Coronado National Forest.

For updates, please see Coronado National Forest Facebook page at and/or Inciweb at

At 6:00 a.m. the Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management Team 3 will assume command of the Frye Fire

Fire Info

Location: Safford Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest 7 miles southwest of Safford, AZ

Start Date: June 7, 2017 Cause: Lightning  

Size: 6305 acres   

Operational Objectives Completed: 16%

Vegetation: Timber, brush and heavy, downed timber from 2004 Nuttall Complex.

Resources Assigned: 306 persons, Engines 11, Crews 9, Helicopters 6, Dozers 2, Water tenders 4, and Miscellaneous Overhead

Incident Commander: Ricky Cox / Rich Sack (t) with the Gila/Las Cruces Type 3 Team