Forest Service investigators were able to access the point of origin of the Tinder Fire and have found the cause to be an abandoned illegal campfire during Stage I Fire Restrictions.
The fire was reported by the Moqui Tower lookout on April 27 at 11:43 a.m. Origin and Cause Investigators determined that the fire originated in the East Clear Creek drainage approximately 1 mile downstream from Forest Road 95. Forest Road 95 runs north-south and is located approximately 1.5 miles east of C.C. Cragin Reservoir. The fire quickly spread from the bottom of East Clear Creek Canyon, where strong southwest winds drove the fire in a northeast direction up the canyon and towards private property and residents located about 3 miles away.
“Any time we enter restrictions or have even closed the forest, we still continue to find abandoned and illegal campfires,” said Andy Pederson, Forest Service patrol captain for northern Arizona. “This shows extreme lack of care for public safety and our natural resources when people would have an illegal campfire, much less abandon an illegal campfire.”
Finding the person responsible for this illegal campfire will be difficult, as witnesses in the forest are often nonexistent, but Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations are continuing to investigate this case and are hopeful for progress.
If anyone was in the area of Forest Road 95 or East Clear Creek near the origin of the Tinder Fire on April 26 or 27 and has information that could help this investigation, please contact Forest Service Law Enforcement at (928) 527-3511.
The Tinder Fire is currently more than 11,400 acres with zero percent containment and more than 550 personnel working to control and extinguish the wildfire.