Arizona wildfire update: Ash fire expected to be contained - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Arizona wildfire update: Ash fire expected to be contained

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Posted: Monday, June 23, 2003 6:08 pm | Updated: 2:14 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

SIERRA VISTA - A 1,000-acre fire that was burning in Ash Canyon was expected to be contained by Tuesday evening.

The Ash fire forced the evacuation of 25 homes over the weekend before residents were allowed to return Sunday morning.

Crews succeeded in protecting the homes by conducting back-burns that moved toward the blaze and robbed it of natural fuels.

Firefighters were continuing to protect the structures, but they weren’t threatened Monday, said Jean Gilbertson, a fire information officer.

The fire was 50 percent contained.

More than 200 firefighters were continuing burnout operations to reduce fuels. Fire crews were assisted by 15 engines, eight water tankers and two helicopters that were dropping water over the blaze.

The cause of the Ash fire, which began midday Saturday, was under investigation. No injuries were reported.

HELEN II FIRE

SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK - A fire in steep and rocky terrain in the Rincon Mountains had burned about 850 acres of oak and pine by Monday.

About 300 firefighters aided by three helicopters were building lines and conducting burnout operations on the northwest side hoping that the fire would burn itself out as it reached lighter fuels, said Bill Duemling, a fire information officer.

There are no structures in the area, but the Helen II fire was threatening Mexican spotted owl and peregrine falcon habitat, officials said.

Several campgrounds and trails that lead into the area were closed.

The fire started Tuesday and was lightning-caused. It was 35 percent contained Monday.

PICTURE FIRE

PUNKIN CENTER - A fire burning north of Roosevelt Lake had grown to about 11,200 acres by Monday, officials said.

The Picture fire was 50 percent contained. The fire, which had run into sparser fuels, was expected to be fully contained by Thursday.

He said firefighters still have 6 miles of line to build before it is completely contained.

About 420 firefighters were working on the fire.

A red flag warning was in effect because of wind gusts reaching 25 mph and low humidity, said Mike Cassidy, a fire information officer.

“The dry conditions combined with winds lead to extreme fire behavior,’’ he said. “We haven’t experienced that. It wouldn’t take much for it to pick up again and run. We’ll have to wait and see.’’

The fire, which is 10 miles north of Roosevelt Lake, was believed to be human-caused, but it remains under investigation.

PICACHO RESERVOIR FIRE

COOLIDGE - An 950-acre fire north of Picacho was fully contained Sunday.

Fire crews aided by an engine were monitoring the fire Monday and checking for hotspots, said Fred Mascher, aircraft operation supervisor for the Arizona Land Department.

“They’re still checking it for the next few days to make double sure and triple sure,’’ the fire doesn’t flare up, Mascher said.

The human-caused fire started on June 14.

MORMON FIRE

FLAGSTAFF - The 2,600-acre Mormon fire continued to burn within the perimeter set by fire officials.

The lightning-sparked fire was being allowed to burn as long as it stayed within those lines, fire information officer Raquel Poturalski said.

The fire has headed into lighter fuels and is expected to eventually burn itself out, she said.

Fire crews were monitoring the blaze, which was expected to burn for a few weeks until the monsoon rains arrive.

POWELL FIRE

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK - A fire on the north rim of the Grand Canyon continued to burn Monday.

Park officials monitored progress of the Powell fire but were allowing it to burn to restore the ecosystem.

The fire had consumed about 630 acres since it started June 15.

The developed portion of the north rim remained open to visitors though the North Bass and Powell Plateau trails and Swamp Ridge Road were temporarily closed.

The fire was expected to burn several weeks, said Sid Beckman, deputy incident commander of the U.S. Forest Service.

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