Rattlesnake Fire update; Smoke may cause delays on Highway 191

April 22, 2018 - 2:08 pm

The Rattlesnake Fire is located southeast of Whiteriver (map of fire and surrounding area).   The fire is estimated to be 25 percent contained and is approximately 15,423 acres.

Fire Activity: Fire managers continue to monitor containment lines along the western flank near the Black River.  There remain a few areas of concern as small pockets of fire are still active in that area.  Burnout operations were conducted along Forest Road on Saturday, and fire crews continue to monitor the fire line along the northern and eastern sides of the fires.  Numerous resources are being relocated to areas with more fire activity to assist with suppression efforts.  Planned firing operations will increase smoke and are expected to impact Alpine and Luna Lake today.

Safety: Motorists should be prepared for possible delays and/or temporary road closure as firefighters plan to conduct burnout operations to improve fire line to the east along Forest Road 25 and anchor containments lines to Highway 191.  Timing of firing operation will be dictated by safety, weather, and operational progress.  ADOT personnel are in position to implement safety measures if and when the road is affected by smoke and fire. Checkpoints will be located at Hannagan Meadow to the north and at Stray Horse to the south on Highway 191. Firefighters are being reminded to drive with caution during low visibility and to be mindful of Forest visitor traffic.

Weather:  A warming trend will bring higher daytime temperatures with light winds from the southwest. Smoke from the Rattlesnake Fire is expected to flow to the northeast and affect Alpine and Luna Lake today.  On Monday low lying smoke could lift by 9:00 a.m. and will drift to the east throughout the day then shift and settle in the Blue River and San Francisco upper Gila River valleys overnight. (Smoke Forecast Outlook)

Values:  As the world celebrates Earth Day, we are reminded that everyday our firefighters utilize tactics to reduce impacts to values.  Within the Rattlesnake Fire footprint, values including cultural resources, wildlifre, wilderness, watersheds, recreation areas, and natural resources are protected and conserved for the future.

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:  On Monday, April 23 at 1:00 a.m., the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will enter into Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in order to reduce human-caused fires and protect public safety.  San Carlos Apache Reservation implemented Stage 2 Restrictions on April 17, 2018.  Modified Stage 2 Restrictions continue on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

Fire Details

Cause: Human-caused, under investigation

Start date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Vegetation:  Ponderosa pine and grass understory

Resources: Approximately 537 personnel