Tonto National Forest

Four separate incidents involving hobbyists flying drones are hindering operations on the Pinal Fire since it was detected May 8, 2017. The fire, which is located in the Tonto National Forest Globe Ranger District near Globe, Arizona, has burned approximately 4,375 acres.

The latest drone sighting occurred May 24, 2017. An air tanker flying over the fire was forced to release its retardant at a higher altitude for safety reasons. The higher drop reduced the retardant’s effectiveness on the fire. Subsequently, aviation operations were suspended until the drone issue was resolved.

The Pinal Fire is burning 6 miles south of Globe.   The fire is approximately 2, 841 acres. The natural fire frequency of the landscape where this fire is burning is every 2 to 17 years. Wildfire has been excluded from this ecosystem and last burned in the area in 1952. This has resulted in a  heavy build-up of dead needles and leaves, branches, and logs. The area needs the reintroduction of low-severity fire to improve forest health and wildlife habitat, and reduce the risk of high intensity wildfire.

Fire Outlook

Firefighters, including engines and crews continue to patrol for hot spots within the fire’s perimeter.  Additional fire personnel are being released to return to their normal duties.  Full containment is still expected on Monday, May 1, 2017.

The fire area has many dead trees that have been weakened by fire and are pose a safety concern for firefighters.  There is minimal smoke visible in the interior of the fire, however logs lying on the ground may put up small smokes for the next few days.  Containment on the Cactus Fire is still expected on Monday, May 1, 2017.

Firefighters will spend the day reinforcing fire lines and making sure hot spots near the fire line are put out.  The Cactus Fire remains at approximately 500 acres and containment has increased to 40%.  Firefighters are in place should winds cause hot embers to blow over current containment lines.

The Bush Highway has reopened to the public.  Please slow down as you drive on the Bush Highway between Power and Usery Park roads.  Firefighters and equipment are still working and driving through the area.

Firefighters spent today reinforcing the containment lines and did not experience any spot fires across the fire lines despite windy conditions.  The Cactus Fire has grown to approximately 500 acres and is now 30% contained.  The area has not yet been mapped, so the acreage remains an estimate and will likely change once the fire perimeter is mapped.  Firefighters continue to protect developed recreation sites, kept the fire away from utility lines, and have successfully kept the fire south of the Salt River and preventing the fire from moving south and east toward

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