Highline Fire Update: Firefighters Working to Hold Fire on Rim- FINAL UPDATE

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Acres: 7,198 acres                                                            Start Date: June 10, 2017

Cause: Unknown, under investigation                    Origin: 8 mi N of Payson in 1990 Dude Fire Scar

Containment: 92%                                                          Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy and down fuels, ponderosa pine

Total personnel: 421                                                      and mixed conifer

 

This will be the final update unless significant changes occur.

 

The Southwest Area Incident Management Team #1 (Bea Day, Incident Commander) will transfer command of the Highline Fire to the local national forest units starting today. Transfer of the northern portion of the fire above the Mogollon Rim (the area formerly known as the Bear Fire) to the Coconino National Forest occurred today (Friday morning). The southern portion of the fire below the Mogollon Rim will be transferred to the Tonto National Forest on Saturday morning. A Type 4 local organization will assume command for suppression and suppression repair efforts.

 

Smoke may be visible on the northern portion of the fire, where it continues to smolder and burn in pockets of unburned vegetation within the fire’s perimeter. Crews continue work on the final piece of containment line of the east flank of Bear Canyon. They are mopping up and patrolling for hot spots along the remainder of the fire’s perimeter. The majority of remaining resources will be demobilized today, making crews and equipment available to other fires.

 

Suppression repair will continue on dozer and handlines, equipment staging areas, and safety zones.  Repairs include construction of water bars to channel water off lines during monsoon rain events.  In areas where brush was cleared crews are now using chippers to remove slash piles along control lines.  The Highline and General Cook Scenic Trails will be repaired where they were used as a control line and impacted by suppression actions.  Mitigation may include flush cutting stumps close to the ground, felling of hazard trees, and use of cut trees to prevent unauthorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in the future.

 

Hot, dry weather persists and will last through the weekend.  Daytime winds will be light to moderate, gusty at times, and will generally be out of the west and southwest for the next few days.

 

All evacuations and pre-evacuations have been lifted.  Some roads near the fire are only open to residents and businesses due to heavy fire equipment traffic and fire crews working in the area.

 

Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions remain in effect on the Coconino and Tonto national forests.  The area closure on the Tonto National Forest has been scaled back starting today. All road blocks on the Tonto National Forest have been removed. On the Coconino National Forest, road blocks remain on Forest Roads 95 and 300. The Coconino National Forest moved to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions yesterday (June 22). For details, visit the Tonto National Forest website, https://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto/ and the Coconino National Forest website, https://www.fs.usda.gov/coconino.

 

Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of this area. More info: Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org

 

Forest issues 2nd Revision for Highline Fire Closure Order

 

PHOENIX, June 23, 2017 —For Immediate Release.  Forest Service officials have implemented a second revision to the Highline Fire Public Safety Closure Order as of 4 a.m. Friday, June 23. The revisions are effective through 8 p.m. July 23, unless terminated sooner.

 

All lands and trails South of the Mogollon Rim to the Highline Trail (Trail #31), from Dry Dude Creek to the unnamed drainage east of Ellison Creek, are closed. Additionally, the Highline Trail is closed from Dry Dude Creek to Ellison Creek.

 

The purpose of the temporary Area Closure Order is to protect National Forest visitor and firefighter health and safety by eliminating the potential for the general public to enter the Highline Fire burned area due to potential snag/falling trees hazards, re-ignitions, flash flooding and conflict with firefighting operations.

 

The Southwest Area Incident Management Team #1 will transfer command of the southern portion of the fire below the Mogollon Rim to the Tonto National Forest on Saturday, June 24.  Team #1 transferred command of the northern portion of the fire above the Mogollon Rim (the area formerly known as the Bear Fire) to the Coconino National Forest on Friday, June 23.

 

Payson District Ranger Debbie Cress said multiple agencies worked together to suppress the Highline Fire.

 

“We are appreciative of the Type 1 team’s support and thank them for their successful efforts on the Highline Fire,” Cress said. “We also want to thank Water Wheel Fire District Chief Ron Sattelmaier and Hellsgate Fire District Chief John Wisner for their support of the team, including providing almost 225,000 gallons of water to bladders and dip tanks. Finally, our thanks to Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin for having the foresight to support placement of those bladders and dip tanks in prior years, making it possible to get water to the fire as quickly as possible and protect our communities.”

 

For the complete closure order visit the Tonto National Forest Web site at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/tonto/alerts-notices/?aid=41353.

 

For more information about the Highline Fire: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/

 

Firefighters Hold All Lines – Growth Limited to Interier Island Burning Out

Highline Fire – June 20, 2017 Morning Update

 

Acres: 6,768 acres (based on infrared data)          Start Date: June 10, 2017

Cause: Unknown, under investigation                    Origin: 8 mi N of Payson in 1990 Dude Fire Scar

Containment: 76%                                                          Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy and down fuels, ponderosa pine

Total personnel: 1,181                                                   and mixed conifer

 

Last night the fire was in patrol status and crews held containment lines in check.  Crews continue to extinguish any remaining heat near containment lines to reduce the risk of spotting.  The infrared flight indicated isolated spots of heat well within containment lines.  The increase in acres burned is due to unburned islands of vegetation within the fire’s perimeter burning out in Bear Canyon at the fire’s north end.

 

Today firefighters will focus on patrolling for hotspots near containment lines and mopping up remaining heat.   Crews will be monitoring thunderstorm activity today for potential strong erratic winds that could develop over the fire.   Firefighting resources assigned to the fire are also prepared to respond any new fire starts that may occur due to lightning.

 

Repair of suppression impacts including dozer and handlines, equipment staging areas and safety zones continues.  Repairs include construction of water bars to channel water off lines during monsoon rain events.  In areas where brush was cleared crews are now using chippers to remove slash piles along control lines.  The Highline and General Cook Scenic Trails will be repaired where they were used as a control line and impacted by suppression actions.  Mitigation may include flush cutting stumps close to the ground, felling of hazard trees, and use of cut trees to prevent unauthorized Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use in the future.

 

Thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon in the vicinity of the fire area. Winds are expected to be upslope during the day and out of the south.  Winds may become erratic due to thunderstorm development.  Extreme heat is expected to continue today.

 

No additional community meetings are planned at this time.  Updates will continue to be posted to the social media sites listed below and Information Officers will be out in the communities posting updated information at key locations.

 

All evacuations and pre-evacuations have been lifted.  Some roads near the fire are only open to residents and businesses due to heavy fire equipment traffic and fire crews working in the area.

 

The Coconino and Tonto National Forests Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions remain in effect.

 

Firefighters are working to protect values at risk where they can do so safely and effectively.  Values include watersheds, private property and adjoining communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, prehistoric and historic resources, federally protected species, and nationally and regionally significant trail systems.

 

Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. More info: Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org

 

Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 and (928) 362-2916 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)

Media Line: 928-793-1955

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/

Arizona Emergency Information: http://azein.gov

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HighlineFireInfo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/highlinefire

 

Changing Weather Keeps Highline Firefighters Alert

Highline Fire – June 19, 2017 Morning Update

 

Acres: 6,634 acres (based on infrared data)          Start Date: June 10, 2017

Cause: Unknown, under investigation                    Origin: 8 mi N of Payson in 1990 Dude Fire Scar

Containment: 76%                                                          Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy and down fuels, ponderosa pine

Total personnel: 1,224                                                   and mixed conifer

 

Last night crews completed the strategic firing operations in Bear Canyon to remove remaining unburned fuels between firelines.  Crews are now focused on mopping up any remaining heat near containment lines and patrolling for spot fires.  Crews continued to patrol and monitor the Ellison Creek and along the Rim.  All lines are holding on the southern flank of the fire and remaining hotspots have diminished.  Infrared flights are being used to detect remaining heat for crews on the ground.  Line is considered contained after crews have completed mop-up of heat along the fireline and the risk of spotting has been eliminated.

 

Today firefighters will focus on mop-up and holding line around last night’s strategic firing operations along Bear Canyon. On the fire’s south flank crews will continue to mop-up hotspots along containment lines, patrol for spot fires, and continue suppression repair.

 

Repair of suppression impacts (dozer and handlines, equipment staging areas and safety zones) continues.  This includes construction of water bars to channel water off lines during monsoon rain events.  In areas where brush was cleared crews are now using chippers to remove slash piles along control lines.

 

Today thunderstorms are likely over the fire area potentially bringing dry lightning and strong erratic winds. While typical up canyon winds are expected to develop today crews are prepared for rapidly changing conditions associated with developing storms.

 

Firefighters are prepared to respond to new lightning fires in the area. The Incident Management Team has assumed initial attack responsibility for new starts in the vicinity of Highline Fire and is prepared to make resources (helicopters, engines and crews) available to new fires in the surrounding area.  Crews and equipment surplus to these needs will be released and made available for other fires.

 

No additional community meetings are planned at this time.  Updates will continue to be posted to the social media sites listed below and Information Officers will be out in the communities posting updated information at key locations.

 

All Evacuations and pre-evacuations have been lifted.  Some roads near the fire are open to residents and fire crews only due to heavy fire equipment traffic.

 

The Coconino and Tonto National Forests Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions remain in effect.

 

Firefighters are working to protect values at risk where they can do so safely and effectively.  Values include watersheds, private property and adjoining communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, prehistoric and historic resources, federally protected species, and nationally and regionally significant trail systems.

 

Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. More info: Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org

 

Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 and (928) 362-2916 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)

Media Line: 928-793-1955

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/

Arizona Emergency Information: http://azein.gov

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HighlineFireInfo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/highlinefire

Major Success as Crews Complete and Hold South Flank Lines Above Communities

Highline Fire – June 17, 2017 Morning Update

 

Acres:    5,737 acres (based on infrared flight)        Start Date: June 10, 2017

Cause: Unknown, under investigation                      Origin: 8 mi N of Payson in 1990 Dude Fire Scar

Containment: 44%                                                       Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy and down, Ponderosa pine

Total personnel: 1,240                                                and mixed conifer

 

Yesterday crews achieved significant containment objectives by completing and securing lines on the fires south, east and west flanks.  Line construction was completed across Ellison Creek followed by a strategic firing operation to remove unburned fuels between the line and the main fire.  These lines held through the night and mark a key turning point in checking the fire’s south and eastward movement and adding protecting the communities of La Cienega, Ellison Creek Estates and Bonita Creek. Structure protection crews remain in place in the two evacuated communities.  On the west flank, firefighters connected fireline between the Rim and the Highline Trail, stopping the fire’s westward movement.  Crews completed burnout of fuels within the established lines to limit the fire’s spread.  Additional containment has been achieved on both the 300 Road above the Rim and along the Highline Trail above Bonita Creek.  The fire continued burning in interior islands of unburned fuels above the Rim in what was formerly the Bear Fire.  Several spot fires were suppressed by crews patrolling the area.

 

Crews today will work to secure containment on the north end of the former Bear Fire where the fire became active between the 95 and 139 Roads. Additional priorities are to hold lines where successful firing operations where completed in Dry Dude Creek and Ellison Creek.  Structure protection groups will remain in place in the communities south of the fire.

 

Today’s temperatures are expected to edge higher and relative humidity will remain critically low.  Expect to see active to very active fire behavior throughout the day. The potential for rapid fire growth is in place where interior islands of unburned fuels remain or should spot fires occur.

 

A Highline Fire Community Meeting will be held tonight, June 17, at 7pm at Payson High School, 301 S. McLane Road, Payson, AZ. American Sign Language (ASL) services will be provided. We plan to try to livestream on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HighlineFireInfo/. You do not need a Facebook account to view the recording available on Facebook following the meeting; however you can only view the meeting live if you’re logged in.

 

The communities of La Cienega and Ellison Creek Estates, in the Ellison Creek drainage north of the Control Road, remain evacuated as crews work to improve lines above the community.  The Bonita Creek subdivision remains in precautionary pre-evacuation status and residents should be prepared as conditions can change rapidly. Sign Up for Gila County’s Emergency Alerts at http://www.readygila.com.  This is the best way for the county to reach you with updates.

 

A Red Cross Shelter is located at the Payson High School, 301 S. McLane Rd, Payson, AZ 85541.  Large animals may be taken to the Payson Multi-event Center, 1400 S Beeline Highway, Payson, AZ.

 

Coconino and Tonto National Forests Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions remain in effect.

 

Firefighters are working to protect values at risk where they can safely do so safely and effectively.  Values include watersheds, private property and adjoining communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, federally protected species, and nationally and regionally trail systems.

 

Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. More info: Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org

 

Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 and (928) 362-2916 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)

Media Line: 928-793-1955

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/

Arizona Emergency Information: http://azein.gov

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HighlineFireInfo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/highlinefire

Acres: 1,359 acres (based on infrared flight)                        Start Date: June 10, 2017

Cause: Unknown, under investigation                                    Origin Location: 8 mi N of Payson in the 1990 Dude Fire Scar

Containment: 0%                                                                             Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy dead and down, Ponderosa pine

Total personnel: 642                                                                      and mixed conifer

 

With higher temperatures the fire became most active on the east flank, burning through upper Moore Creek, over the Myrtle Trail and spotted into upper Ellison Creek.  Air tankers were used to slow the forward progress as crews worked to hold the fire and catch spot fires above the Rim. With fire now over Myrtle Trail and into the Ellison Creek drainage, crews worked overnight to complete strategic firing operations south of the 300 Road at the Rim.  While the fire’s west flank was less active, the fire continued to burn west toward the 2009 Rim Fire burn scar.  Air tankers were used to check the western flank at the Rim Fire scar.  Crews held the fire above the Highline Trail overnight and completed strategic firing operations off the trail to remove unburned fuels between the fire and the trail.

 

Today, fire crews will work to hold the fire north of Highline Trail, south of the 300 Road and establish new line at the head of Ellison Creek.  Today’s operation will focus on checking the fire at the Rim as it is expected to continue to move east across the upper Ellison Creek drainage.  Firefighters will continue to improve the Highline Trail on the fire’s south flank and work to construct dozer line above the communities in lower Ellison Creek.  A structure protection group will continue to prepare communities below the Highline Trail and complete the structure protection plan.  This morning the Southwest Incident Management Team also assumed command of the nearby Bear Fire which is in patrol status.

 

Hotter, drier weather is expected to increase over the next few days. Unstable atmosphere over the fire has resulted in increased fire behavior and rapid fire growth. Temperatures are predicted to be warmer today than yesterday, with highs near 90 degrees, which will drive relative humidity to a critically low 5%.

 

Firefighters will be challenged by extreme burning conditions this afternoon as upslope, south to southwest winds will again push the fire north toward the Rim and east in upper Ellison Canyon.  A large smoke column is expected to develop again this afternoon, impacting communities to the north and east of the fire.  While fire activity has been minimal at night, the forecast calls for increased down canyon winds tonight which could challenge firefighters holding the fire at the Highline Trail.

 

No evacuation orders are in effect at this time. A Precautionary Pre-Evacuation Notification is in effect for residents in Bonita Creek community.  It is important for residents in these areas to be prepared as conditions can change rapidly.

 

Coconino and Tonto National Forests (NF) Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions on the Tonto NF remain in effect.

 

Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of this area. More info visit Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org

 

Firefighters are working to limit the fire’s spread and protect values at risk where they can do so safely and effectively. These values include watersheds, private inholdings and local communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, federally listed and sensitive species, and nationally and regionally significant trail systems.

 

Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/ (Air Quality info, County Emergency Alert sign-up link, Firewise tips)

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HighlineFireInfo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/highlinefire

Prepare for High Temperatures and Up Canyon Winds
June 13, 2017 Morning Update
Acres: 933 acres (based on infrared flight) Start Date: June 10, 2017
Cause: Unknown, under investigation Origin Location: 8 mi N of Payson in the 1990 Dude Fire Scar
Containment: 0% Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy dead and down, Ponderosa pine Total personnel: 459 and mixed conifer
Crews completed strategic firing operations on the fire’s southwest flank along the Highline Trail yesterday and are working to improve these lines. Firefighters strengthened fireline on the fire’s north side, tying it to the Bear Fire, which has played a key role in holding the northwest corner of the fire. Firefighters face multiple hazards that include rolling debris, steep terrain, high temperatures, and dry fuels.
Today, fire crews will work to hold the fire north of Highline Trail. As a precaution, crews and dozers are building contingency lines south of the Highline Trail and preparing communities for structural defense. Homeowners can assist in making Firewise preparations around their homes. Firefighters may use strategic firing operations to remove unburned fuels between primary containment lines and the main fire. Crews will continue to improve containment lines above the Rim. Helicopters and fixed wing air tankers will be used to support firefighters on the ground.
Hotter, drier weather is expected to increase over the next few days. While winds are expected to be lighter today, temperatures are likely to climb over the next several days. Lower humidities will result in increased fire behavior.
Today topography will drive fire behavior. Fire activity is expected to increase this afternoon when temperatures warm creating up canyon winds, pushing the fire north toward containment lines on the Rim. However due to firefighter’s work in this area, little movement is expected on the north. On the south side of the fire, expect to see backing and flanking fire progressing downhill in the Bonita drainage towards Highline Trail. However, when fire and winds align with drainages, expect to see rapid uphill runs. Eastward movement will continue.
A Highline Fire Community Meeting will be held today at 6:00 p.m. at the Starlight Pines Community Center in Blue Ridge, AZ. American Sign Language (ASL) services will be provided
No evacuation orders are in effect at this time. A Precautionary Pre-Evacuation Notification is in effect for residents in Bonita Creek community. It is important for residents in these areas to be prepared as conditions can change rapidly.
Coconino and Tonto National Forests (NF) Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions on the Tonto NF remain in effect.
Firefighters are working to limit the fire’s spread and protect values at risk where they can do so safely and effectively. These values include watersheds, private inholdings and local communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, federally listed and sensitive species, and nationally and regionally significant trail systems.
Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of this area. More info visit Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org
Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)
InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/ (Air Quality info, County Emergency Alert sign-up link, Firewise tips)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HighlineFireInfo/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/highlinefire

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