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Arizona Wallow Fire: 89% contained, to hit 54,000 Acres and suppression efforts continue.

The Wallow Fire, the largest in Arizona history, which has spread to approximately 538,049 acres, including 15,407 acres in N.M., on Tuesday has been estimated to be 89 percent contained. However, there has been some growth on the eastern and southern section of the fire in the areas of Luna and the Blue River drainage in the Stray Horse area, according to Apache County Sheriff's Office.

Fire crews are still focusing on suppression efforts with the objective to keep the fire west of Blue Canyon and north of Strayhorse Creek and east of U.S. 191, according to Arizona Information Network (AzEIN).

"Fire Crews have completed direct handline along the entire southern perimeter of the fire." the AzEIN said on Tuesday. "Patrolling of the line for hot spots continues in the remainder of the southeast portion of the fire with structure protection continuing in the vicinity of Luna."

On Tuesday, around 1,953 people, including 18 hotshot crews and 24 hand crews, continued working to contain the fire which has reached to the location of Apache, Navajo, Graham, and Greenlee counties, Fort Apache Indian Reservation, San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, Arizona; Catron County and New Mexico.

The operations have used 10 Helicopters, 5 Air Tankers, 110 Engines, 35 Water Tenders and 9 Dozers.

The Wallow Fire, which erupted on Sunday, has so far burned 32 residences, damaged 5 and threatened 18. Meanwhile, the fire threatened 4 commercial properties, and have destroyed 4 buildings. The fire also threatened 28 outbuildings, besides damaging 1 and destroying 36 others.

Authorities said the Wallow Fire resulted from human activity on May 29. The fire has forced thousands of people to evacuate from several eastern Arizona communities including Blue River, Nutrioso, Eager Sunrise, Greer, Alpine and Springerville.

Following are the important information from AzEIN:

Fire Update:

On the fire's edge from US 191 continuing clockwise to Nutrioso, Ariz., crews are working at least 300 feet into the burned area extinguishing all visible smokes. US 191 and other roads are closed because of continued fire suppression and to ensure public and firefighter safety.

Hazard tree removal is on going along US 191 in preparation for a future reopening of the highway. Crews are working to repair firelines and fences that were damaged during the fire. Aircraft and firefighters are patrolling for fire and smoke, which will be visible in scattered islands well within containment lines.

Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) treatments are being implemented starting this week with four 20-person handcrews clearing debris out of drainage bottoms around the Nutrioso, Greer and Eagar areas. Fire suppression crews are accomplishing fire line repairs on lines no longer required for control of the fire.

Elk are continuing to create a safety hazard as they are present on or near most of the highways and roads. Holding speeds below 55 mph, especially from dusk to dawn when elk are most active, will greatly reduce the risk of an accident.

Temperatures will continue to be hot and dry with conditions being mostly sunny, high near 86, north winds 5-8 mph becoming south between 18-21 mph, with winds gusting as high as 31 mph and relative humidity 7-12 percent. There is a

slight chance of dry thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Special Information:

Forest Road 281 is closed two miles south of its junction with US 180 but is open beyond this point to residences only.

All Forest Service and private commercial facilities inside the road closures are not available to the public.

Fourth of July fireworks at Sunrise Ski Area and Resort are cancelled

.

An Individual Assistance Service Center (IASC) is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Round Valley Public Library, 179 S Main, and Eagar for all evacuated Arizonans to access information to assist in their personal recovery from the fire.

Road Closures according to Arizona Department of Transportation:

US 191 is closed between Alpine to north of Clifton (milepost 176-253).

SR 261 (mileposts 395-413) and SR 273 (mileposts 383-394), to Big Lake & Crescent Lake are closed.

Closures and Restrictions:

San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation: Fire Restrictions and area closures remain in effect.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest: The Springerville, Alpine, and Clifton Ranger Districts of the Forest remain under a forest closure until further notice. A closure order is in effect for portions of the Sitgreaves side of the National Forest.

Fort Apache Indian Reservation: Partial area closures are in effect for the eastside of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

The National Weather Service on potential flooding:

The Wallow Fire burned vast portions of the White Mountains including areas of steep terrain which will make numerous locations vulnerable to flash floods and debris flows even in moderate intensity (10 - 15 minutes) rains. Some area streams and rivers are likely to see flows beyond anything seen in decades if typical or above average rains occur. Residents should be aware that area roadways may become impassible due to mud, rock and debris slides or due to streams and washes overwhelming existing culverts and bridges.

Public Safety:

Smoke from the ongoing wildfires in Ariz. will continue to impact residents in the Wallow Fire area including southwestern N.M.

A Crisis Intervention Line (928) 333-2683 is available for residents suffering from the stress of living with fire danger.

An Individual Assistance Service Center (IASC) is open daily, except Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Round Valley Public Library, 179 S Main, Eagar for all evacuated Arizonans to access information to assist in their personal recovery from the fire.

Apache County and local Fire Departments have begun identifying locations for staging of sandbags in anticipation of the monsoon season. More information will be provided as locations are confirmed.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:1U8AZ
Date:Jun 28, 2011
Words:954
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