Hilltop Fire Update July 1

0701-Hilltop_PIO (1)

July 11, 2017

The HIlltop fire started June 25th and is now at an estimated 34,053 acres. As of today it is 43% contained. The fire is buring 30 miles NW of San Carlos and 15 miles SW of Canyon Day. This fire was started by natural causes via lightening.

 

Yesterday, wetting monsoonal rains fell over the Hilltop Fire area. With this increased moisture and humidity, fire activity has reduced considerably in comparison to previous days. Interior portions of the fire continue to burn within the established firelines, and in areas of recent ignition operations. Although a few hot spots remain, fire managers feel confident that increasing rains will reduce the threat posed by the Hilltop Fire. Monsoonal moisture is anticipated to gradually increase over the next few days, bringing a possibility of more showers and thunderstorms. The incident meteorologist forecasts continued monsoonal weather which may further limit fire spread.

 

Crews have completed the planned road improvements and fuel breaks on the Fort Apache Reservation. These improved features will provide protection for the surrounding communities should a fire threaten these areas in the future. Due to the successful completion of these activities, all remaining fire personnel assigned to the Incident Management Team will move to the existing fire camp on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Resources remaining with the Incident Management Team include 11 crews, four helicopters, 11 engines, six dozers, three water tenders and two masticators. Local crews and equipment will remain on the Fort Apache Reservation to complete rehabilitation of constructed firelines and repair suppression damage.

 

The Incident Management Team will continue to provide written updates, including posts on Facebook and Inciweb, until management of the Hilltop Fire is transferred back to the local agencies. Additional contact information for the local agencies will be announced through a subsequent news release.

 

Yesterday, the Southwest Area Incident Management Team hosted a final public meeting at the Canyon Day Junior High School. No further community meetings are planned at this time.

 

A closure order remains in effect within the boundaries of the Hilltop Fire area. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and local tribes will announce the termination of this closure when the area is deemed safe for public access.

 

Fire Information: (928) 358-5757 (8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.)
Email: hilltopfire2017@gmail.com

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5303/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SCATFORESTRY

July 10, 2017

Smoke from the Hilltop Fire should diminish today after fire fighters completed “burn out” operations along a section of the perimeter yesterday. The operation was the last piece of a multi-day effort to secure the east and southeast section of the fire line in order to prevent the fire’s spread in that direction and to protect commercial timber stands on the San Carlos Indian Reservation. Although a few hot spots remain near the perimeter in some places, fire managers are feeling confident that, with the increasing monsoonal moisture, the threat posed by the Hilltop Fire is almost over. As a result, most of the fire fighting resources north of the Salt River have been sent to other fires or back home.

 

Contingency fire lines and road improvements on the White Mountain Apache Reservation are nearly complete. Those efforts, though not needed on this fire, can be used by local fire crews should if a fire threatens the area again. Roads and fire lines are also being rehabilitated, by installing water bars and chipping of slash, in order to prevent erosion. Similar “rehab” efforts are underway on the San Carlos Reservation side of the fire.

 

A public meeting will be held at the Canyon Day Junior High School TONIGHT (July 10) at 6:00 p.m.  Anyone with questions about the fire is encouraged to attend.

 

Remaining fire personnel north of the river will move to the existing fire camp on the San Carlos Indian Reservation Tuesday. “We want to thank our hosts, both the San Carlos and White Mountain Apache Tribes, for their cooperation and patience over the past week,” says Incident Commander David Bales. “We’re glad we were able to keep the fire south of the Salt River and, as much as possible, minimize the impacts to the San Carlos Tribal lands,” Bales says.

 

A closure order remains in effect within the boundaries of the Hilltop Fire area. Please see the closure area notice on Inciweb for more details.

 

Fire Information: (928) 358-5757 (8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.) Email: hilltopfire2017@gmail.com

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5303/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SCATFORESTRY

A wildfire update will be provided today at 10:00 a.m. on KNNB Radio, 88.1 FM.

July 9, 2017 UPDATE- Containment Growing at the Hilltop Fire

Yesterday, moderate fire growth on the Hilltop Fire was attributed to successful burning operations progressing on the fire’s southeast flank, also resulting in a significant gain in containment. The fire remains south of the Salt River on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

 

Sparse fuels ahead of the fire’s northern flanks are helping stall the fire’s progress. High humidity is assisting firefighters as they near completion of fireline construction on the fire’s west and northwest flanks. Despite considerable rainfall north of the fire area, the Hilltop Fire received no wetting rain on Saturday.

 

Hotshot crews and engine crews are making excellent progress with a burning operation on the fire’s southeastern flank. Firefighters are removing brush and low-hanging branches using chainsaws ahead of the burning operation. Short grass and lighter fuels are also contributing to a low-intensity burn with limited torching being reported.

 

Weather permitting, firefighters will progress with their burning operation today, working southward along the 1100 road toward the Gimme Fire burn scar. Aerial firing operations may also be conducted north of the 1100 road to strengthen control lines in this area.

 

North of the Salt River, crews are nearing completion of fuel reduction efforts along the road system in the event the fire crosses the river. A masticator is being utilized to reduce the amount of heavy vegetation in this area. Also known as a “forestry mulcher”, a masticator is fitted with a front-mounted rotary drum bearing steel “teeth” to shred vegetation. The resulting mulch aids regeneration of grasses and other food sources for animals.

 

Demobilization of some initial attack resources, notably those working north of the Salt River, will begin today as numerous new fires in the region are requesting additional staffing.

 

Monsoonal moisture is predicted to increase across the area, bringing thunderstorms and the possibility of wetting rain to the fire area.

 

There are currently no pre-evacuation notices in place for the Canyon Day and Cedar Creek communities. A closure order remains in effect within the boundaries of the Hilltop Fire area. Please see the closure area notice on Inciweb for more details.

 

A public meeting will be held at the Canyon Day Junior High School on Monday, July 10, at 6:00 p.m.

 

Fire Information: (928) 358-5757 (8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.) Email: hilltopfire2017@gmail.com

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5303/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SCATFORESTRY

Wildfire updates will be provided each day at 10:00 a.m. on KNNB Radio at 88.1 FM.

July 8, 2017 UPDATE

The Hilltop Fire was relatively quiet yesterday, showing limited smoke and gaining only 2,420 acres. Clouds and periods of higher humidity helped calm the fire. The fire remains on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, about 30 miles northwest of San Carlos and 15 miles southwest of Canyon Day.

Firefighters continue to make progress toward controlling the fire. Much of the strategy depends on building a box of control lines around the Hilltop Fire. Where it is safe to do so, control lines are built directly along the edge of the fire. Steep, broken terrain and poor access often require building indirect lines away from the fire’s edge. Firefighters construct these indirect lines in places where they have a better chance of safely stopping the fire’s spread. On the Hilltop Fire, firefighters are developing a plan to complete a box of direct and indirect control lines.

Yesterday, bulldozers completed a fireline from the 1197 road northeast along the ridge, about one half mile east of the northeast edge of the fire. The 1100 road has been prepped as a control line on the east of the fire. Progress along the 1343 road and the west edge of the fire has allowed some firefighters and equipment to be shifted to other areas that require additional work. Today, firefighters hope to finish the firelines down to the Salt and Black Rivers. On the north side of the Salt River, firelines are being prepared in case the Hilltop Fire crosses the river.

Firefighters are using controlled ignitions to burn vegetation between the current fire edge and the firelines. Fire personnel carefully monitor the fuels, weather, and terrain, and only ignite when the conditions are favorable. Where slopes are moderate and personnel have good access, crews can apply fire on the ground. Many areas of the Hilltop Fire are rugged or remote and therefore unsafe to ignite by hand. Instead, these areas are ignited by helicopters that drop small plastic balls containing a flammable chemical that ignites on contact with the ground. By controlling the speed and direction of the ignitions, firefighters aim for a low-intensity fire. Using these techniques, firefighters plan to gradually contain the fire within the planning box. Over the next few days, an increase in acreage will likely result from these burnout operations.

Firefighting resources continue to patrol and monitor areas on both the White Mountain Apache and San Carlos Apache Reservations. Firefighters on the White Mountain Apache side are helping to prepare structure protection plans that could be used if the Hilltop Fire, or any future fire, threatens the area.

The weather forecast calls for a gradual increase in the chance of rain through the weekend and into next week. Lightning continues to be a concern, bringing the possibility of new fire starts.

There are currently no pre-evacuation notices in place for the Canyon Day and Cedar Creek communities. Residents should remain prepared and stay informed regarding the status of the fire. If fire becomes well established on the north side of the Salt River, pre-evacuation notices will be restored. A closure order remains in place for those lands located within the boundaries of the Hilltop Fire area. Please see the Closure notice on Inciweb for more details.

Fire Information: (928) 358-5757 (8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.) Email: hilltopfire2017@gmail.com

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5303/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SCATFORESTRY

Wildfire updates will be provided each day at 10:00 a.m. on KNNB Radio at 88.1 FM.

July 4, 2017 UPDATE

Hilltop Fire Less Active Monday

Contact: (928) 487-1031 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Email:
sancarlos.fire15@gmail.com
Facebook
: https://www.facebook.com/SCATFORESTRY/

San Carlos, AZ – Cloud cover, an old burn scar, and continued hard work by fire fighters combined for a successful day on the Hilltop Fire Monday. The fire, which made big runs Saturday and Sunday, slowed down Monday as it ran into an area which had previously burned, and there was just enough cloud cover to moderate fire behavior for much of the day. “The weather gave us a break yesterday,” said incoming Incident Commander David Bales, “but we’re not letting our guard down because there is still a lot of fire out there and it has a lot of potential left in it.” Bales’ Southwest Area Team 4, a Type 2 Incident Management Team, took over control of the fire this morning. The larger team brought with it additional resources, including more 20-person hand crews, more fire engines and two more bulldozers. Helicopters are also working the fire, dousing hot spots to slow the fires’ advance and secure more of the perimeter.

Much of the southern perimeter has been secured, or is close to being secured, so much of the focus is shifting to the north today. Working with White Mountain Apache tribal resources, crews are preparing roads and other terrain features to use as firebreaks, if the fire crosses the Salt River. Similar work is also continuing on the San Carlos Reservation side, to be ready if winds push the fire to the west, east, or south.

Because of the continued threat from the fire, the White Mountain Apache Tribe has issued a pre-evacuation notice for the Canyon Day and Cedar Creek communities. Pre-evacuation means residents should prepare now and be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, if needed. Log onto www.311info.net for updates.

A public meeting will be held tonight, at 6:00 p.m., at the Cedar Creek Assembly of God Church, on the Fort Apache Reservation. Anyone with questions about the fire is invited to attend.

Forest Road 1300 has been closed at the closed on the east end at Sycamore Tank and on the west end at Dehorn. The 1100 Road is closed at Bear Canyon. Please watch for fire traffic on Highway 60 if you are traveling between Globe and Show Low.

Updates are published on Inciweb, a fire information web page, at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5303/#. The telephone number for fire information is (928) 487-1031 and messages can be left at that number 24 hours a day.

 

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Hilltop Fire at a Glance:

  • Detected: June 25
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Size: 17,639 acres
  • Resources Threatened: Commercial timber stands, San Carlos Watershed, big game habitat, recreation values, cultural sites
  • Containment: 5%
  • Personnel: 317

 

San Carlos, AZ – The Hilltop Fire moved rapidly Sunday, growing to within a half mile of the Salt River and doubling in size, to an estimated 15,859 acres. While fire fighters have been successful in holding the fire along much of its perimeter, it continues to be driven by the wind to the north and northeast. That fire behavior is expected to continue today. If conditions permit, fire managers are planning to light “back burns” ahead of the fire on the northeast side. This will be done to rob the approaching fire of fuel, making it a less intense fire, with less impact on the land and forest. For the past several days, crews have been preparing existing forest roads for use as control lines and that work will continue today. Preparations are also being made north of the Salt River, should the fire cross that river into the White Mountain Apache Reservation.

Because of the threat from the fire, the White Mountain Apache Tribe has issued a PRE-EVACUATION NOTICE for the Canyon Day and Cedar Creek communities. Pre-evacuation means residents should be ready in the event of an evacuation.  Prepare your things now, and be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Log onto www.311info.net for updates.

“We know people to the north are concerned,” says Incident Commander Nathan Barrett, “and we want them to know we are doing all we can to slow the fire’s advance to give residents time to prepare, if it does get across the Salt River.”

There are now approximately 263 personnel, seven fire engines and up to five helicopters working the fire. More resources, including two additional 20-person “hot shot” crews, arrived late last night. Because of the increasing size and complexity of the fire, a larger, Type 2, incident management team (Southwest Area Team 4) is being brought in to oversee fire-fighting efforts.

Forest Road 1300 has been closed at the closed on the east end at Sycamore Tank and on the west end at Dehorn. The 1100 Road is closed at Bear Canyon. Please watch for fire traffic on Highway 60 between Globe and mile marker 284.

Updates are published on Inciweb, a fire information web page, @ https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5303/#. The telephone number for fire information is (928) 487-1031 and messages can be left 24 hours a day.

Fire Growth Expected on Hilltop Fire

July 1, 2017

Contact: (928) 487-1031 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Email:
sancarlos.fire15@gmail.com
Facebook
: https://www.facebook.com/SCATFORESTRY/

San Carlos, AZ Low humidity, hot temperatures and breezy winds are expected to fuel more growth on the Hilltop fire this afternoon. The fire, currently burning on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, is approximately 2640 acres. Tribal and Federal fire fighters are working to keep the fire within existing fire lines on the south, east and west sides in order to protect commercial timber stands and other natural and cultural resources. Additional ground and air resources are being committed to the fire today in order to help meet those objectives.

Forest Road 1163 has been closed at its junction with the 1300/1100 Road due to fire activity.

 

Hilltop, and the smaller Gimme Fire, were both started by lightning on June 25. The Gimme Fire is not out but is completely contained at 432 acres.

 

Fire updates are now being published on Inciweb, the national fire information web page, at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5303/# A fire information line has also been set up at (928)-487-1031 and messages can be left at that number 24 hours a day.

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