July 26, 2023
The Cottonwood Ridge Wildfire, which has been spreading across the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, remains a top concern for authorities and residents alike. As of yesterday, the fire experienced a 10-acre slop over along Cottonwood Canyon on its east flank. However, prompt action by firefighters led to the successful lining and securing of the slop over. The use of retardant lines also helped in holding back the fire on the west and north flanks.
Today, fire managers conducted an aerial assessment and observed active fire behavior in the northwest flank. Consequently, firefighting crews are focused on securing this area and continuing necessary line construction. Air resources continue to provide vital support in the battle against the blaze.
To improve coordination and management of the incident, a Type 2 Incident Management Team is set to take command of the Cottonwood Ridge, Spoon, and Mustang Ridge fires on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation starting at 0600 a.m. on Thursday, July 27, 2023.
The primary objective of the firefighting efforts is to reduce the size of the fire using aircraft, which will buy valuable time for firefighters to assess the fire landscape more effectively. Full suppression tactics are being employed to combat the fire, with the safety of firefighters and the public being the utmost priority.
Authorities have urged members of the public to avoid the fire area for their own safety. Potential communities at risk, notably Linden to the north of the Cottonwood Ridge Fire, have been alerted to remain vigilant. While the fire does not pose an immediate threat to Linden at this time, residents are urged to be prepared for any emergency situation. This includes having emergency kits ready and being registered on the Ready Navajo County Alert System. Accurate and up-to-date information about the fire can be found on the Fort Apache Facebook page and the website www.311info.net.
One of the areas that may be impacted by the wildfire is Highway 60, located east of the fire. Authorities are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates as needed.
The incident has drawn the combined efforts of various agencies, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, White Mountain Apache Tribe, Navajo County, and the US Forest Service. Their collaboration and dedication to containing the fire have been instrumental in addressing this ongoing wildfire situation.
Smoke from the fire may be visible from surrounding communities and along Highway 60. Residents are encouraged to check the latest smoke conditions in their area by visiting https://fire.airnow.gov/.
The Cottonwood Ridge Wildfire continues to be a formidable challenge, but with the unwavering commitment of firefighters and the cooperation of the public, authorities are optimistic about gaining control over the fire and ensuring the safety of all those affected. Residents are advised to stay informed and follow official updates to respond effectively to any developments related to the wildfire.