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Monday, June 15, 2009

Slavin Gulch Fire in Coronado National Forest Nears Containment

(June 15, 2009 – 4:50 p.m.) The Slavin Gulch Fire is located in the Douglas Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest, on the West side of Dragoon Mountains – South of Council Rock. The fire is estimated to be 135 acres and is approximately 90 percent contained.

Today the fire personnel worked on remaining active fire hotspots. Windy conditions existed throughout the day, however containment is being achieved.

Residents of Sierra Vista and other communities near the border areas are experiencing significant smoke this afternoon, due to several fires in northern Mexico.

(Source: Coronado National Forest)

Park Officials Plan Prescribed Burn Planned for Wednesday, June 17

(June 15, 2009 – 4:45 p.m.) Coronado National Memorial and the fire crew from Saguaro National Park plan to conduct a prescribed burn in the grasslands near the entrance to the park on Wednesday, June 17, 2009. The visitor center and all trails will remain open.

This prescribed fire project is part of an experiment to study methods of control for Lehmann Lovegrass, an exotic African grass that has invaded large portions of southern Arizona. Approximately 30 acres will be treated. The burn is expected to last one day.

Prescribed fires are carefully conducted under identified and approved prescription conditions. The prescribed burn will take place only if weather conditions allow. Wind, temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric pressure will be monitored to ensure safe and effective prescribed fire operations. The burn will be closely coordinated with weather forecasters and air quality managers.

If the approved prescription conditions do not exist on a specific day, the planned burn will be postponed. For this reason, it is impossible to accurately predict the exact day this prescribed fire will be conducted.

It is anticipated that Coronado National Memorial and Montezuma Canyon Road (FR 61) will remain OPEN during the burn. Smoke from the fire may be heavy at times and will be visible from the surrounding region.

(Source: National Park Service)

Elk Horn Fire More Than 10,000 Acres: Fire Being Managed for Resource Benefit

(June 15, 2009 – 4:40 p.m.) This Incident started on June 11 at approximately 1:00 PM, is located 50 miles southwest of Tucson, near the Baboquivari Peak Wilderness Area.

Currently the fire is estimated to be between 10,000 and 11,000 acres with 12% containment. Darrell Miller, Incident Commander said “we are very pleased with the progression”. This Incident is expected to continue burning for the next several days under close management.

This fire, which began on State Lands, is being managed by several Agencies including Arizona State Forestry, US Fish and Wildlife (USFW), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). For all Agencies involved, firefighter safety is the primary concern. This area is known for its very steep, rugged terrain and it has been deemed unsafe to implement direct suppression measures in these areas.

Suppression and protection objectives are in place and are being met for State Lands, however, on the Federal Lands; keeping firefighter safety as the primary objective, this wildland fire will be managed for the resource benefit.

Resources continued burnout operations today using aerial ignition along the ridge tops and securing established perimeter lines below. The fire is now burning north and east of Baboquivari Peak and into Thomas Canyon to the south. Structure protection is in place as a precautionary measure for the Las Delicious Ranch and those structures within Brown Canyon. Fire Officials anticipate an increase in acreage and visible smoke as a result of these burnout operations.

Resources: (3) Type 1 Hotshot Crews, (4) Type 2 Hand Crews, (6) Engines, (4) Water Tenders, (2) Helicopters and miscellaneous overhead for a total of 215 personnel. The Air Resources are being used to shuttle hand crews to inaccessible areas as well as for the aerial ignition operations.

This fire has been determined to be human caused and is under investigation.

(Source: Arizona State Forestry Division)
(June 15, 2009 – 1:45 p.m.) The Tucker Fire was started by lightning and first sighted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009. Over this past weekend the fire grew to 1500 acres. The fire is located on Dick Hart Ridge in the Coconino National Forest.

The fire is 15 miles NNE of Pine, AZ and is burning between Barbershop Canyon and Maverick Canyon. Crews have cleared brush along the U-Bar trail between forest roads 139 and 145, and plan to use this as a natural boundary to keep the fire from spreading any farther north. Firefighters were successful Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the burning that was conducted to secure the North, East and Western boundaries of the fire.

Fire Managers will now monitor the fire until it burns itself out or the monsoon puts it out, which ever comes first. The smoke that the subdivisions in the Blue Ridge area experienced this past weekend was from the Tucker fire, and was not as bad as anticipated. Expect to see smoke in the late evening and early morning hours for the remainder of this week. In view of the fact that the burning has been completed fire managers expect the smoke to lighten considerably each day.

Travel on the U-Bar trail between forest road 139 and forest road 145 is still not recommended.

(Source: Coconino National Forest)