I’d like to send an enormous “thank you” and “good luck” to the over 2,500 men and women sweating their “you know whats” off to fight the Wallow Fire in Eastern Arizona. This wildfire has now affected 200,000 acres, making it the third largest wildfire in AZ history. With the 40mph winds today, it’s growing FAST!
(Courtesy of AZCentral.com)
The Wallow Fire has blackened nearly 200,000 acres, and could be fueled again by dry lightning and erratic, gusty winds that are expected for the northern half of Arizona later Monday.
The National Weather Service warns of high temperatures and winds gusting up to 40 mph Monday, making the fire — already the state’s third-largest in history — more difficult to fight.
The fire has reached the base of Escudilla Mountain, a steep, rugged peak of 10,900 feet that’s difficult for fire crews to navigate, according to Eric Nietzel, a spokesman for the Southwest Area Incident Management Team. The mountain is roughly 25 miles southeast of Eagar.
He said spot fires had begun between the mountain and U.S. 60 to the north.
The spokesman said that the threat to the community of Nutrioso had grown overnight.
Fire officials say there is a lot of dead and downed trees and debris throughout the forest area, as much as 50 tons per acre.
Nietzel said that large and small urban areas, including Alpine, Nutrioso and Greer, had been clearing the dead forest fuel – tree limbs, pine needles, leaves, etc. — from around the town limits.
The Wallow Fire started on May 29 and is human caused. It has engulfed over 192,000 acres as of early Monday morning, a jump from 144,000 acres Sunday. Officials report that over 2,500 personnel are fighting the fire, along with 138 engines, 12 bulldozers and 22 helicopters. Some of these crews are from across the country.
Despite the impressive manpower, the fire remains completely uncontained.
Only two fires in Arizona history have reached over 200,000 acres – the Crane Creek Fire in 2005 which burned nearly 250,000 acres and the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire which burned almost 470,000 acres.
Late last week, Apache County Sheriff’s officials started comparing the Wallow Fire to that historic blaze because of the rapid speed at which it is growing and the panic it’s beginning to cause in the area.
- The Horseshoe Two Fire has grown to over 100,000 acres as well as of late Sunday – only the fifth fire to do so in Arizona history.
Over 1,000 persons are fighting the blaze, officials report, with 38 engines assisting as well. The inferno, which is also human-caused, has burned for nearly a month, injuring seven and costing nearly $28 million to fight. This fire is approximately 55 percent contained as of Sunday evening.
- The Murphy Fire had blackened approximately 37,000 acres as of late Sunday, nearly doubling in size over the weekend.
The fire has burned for one week, and is only 15 percent contained.
It is human caused as well.