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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wash Fire at 1955 acres, roads to Holbrook opened

WASH FIRE UPDATE
With the Willow Fire burning north of Bear Canyon Lake 75 percent contained at 213 acres, firefighters are now focused on the Wash Fire. Here's the latest:

Fire Facts 
Date started: June 23, 2011
Location: 8 miles NE of Heber-Overgaard
Size: 1,955 acres estimated
Percent contained: 10
Estimated containment date: None yet

Number of personnel: About 160 including 5 handcrews
Equipment: 3 bulldozers, 10 engines
Cause: human
Aircraft: 2 helitankers
Injuries to date: 0
Cost to date: $370,000
Properties threatened: power lines

Fire Activity: On Friday firefighters finished a dozer line around the entire fire, and began improving the line around the fire perimeter. Helitankers will continue to support firefighters on the ground today as needed. Firefighters will continue to construct line, patrol and mop up existing line. Although fire activity is minimal, hot and dry weather continues, and the potential for very active fire behavior exists.

Community Meeting: A community meeting will be conducted at 6 p.m., June 25 in the Mogollon High School gymnasium, in Heber, AZ. Representatives from the Apache/Sitgreaves National Forest and the Eastern Arizona Incident Management Team will be available to provide current information about the fires and the forest, and answer questions from the audience.

Emergency Information available: Please call the Public Information Lines (593)333-3412 or (928)333-3412 for further updates, or call the Fire Information Line listed at the top of this page.

General Information: The Wash Fire is burning in Pinyon juniper with a grass understory on the Sitgreaves side of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests on the Black Mesa Ranger District.

Highways 277 and 377 have been reopened, and power has been restored to Heber and Overgaard.  (A related story from the Arizona Department of Transportation [ADOT] follows.)

Safety Message: Heavy recreation traffic is expected in the general vicinity of the fire over the weekend. Motorists should be alert due to the presence of firefighter vehicles on the highways and Forest roads.

ADOT reopens State Routes 377 and 277

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation reopened two highways in northeast Arizona that were closed yesterday (June 23) due to the Wash Fire near Heber-Overgaard.

State Route 377 was reopened to the public this afternoon between the SR 277 junction and SR 77 near Holbrook (mileposts 1-34) and SR 277 reopened between Heber (SR 260 junction) and near Snowflake (mileposts 306-321) late last night.

Although the highways are now open, ADOT urges drivers to be cautious as efforts continue to bring the fire under control.

Approximately 130 miles of state highways are still closed due to several major wildfires burning across Arizona or due to the threat of wildfires. ADOT reminds motorists that the following closures on state highways remain in effect:

US 191 is closed over a 77-mile stretch between Alpine and north of Clifton (milepost 176-253).
SR 261 is closed between the SR 260 junction and SR 273 junction (mileposts 395-413).
SR 273 is closed south of the Sunrise Ski area to the SR 261 junction (mileposts 383-394).
In southern Arizona, SR 366 is closed at milepost 118 leading up to Mount Graham (milepost 143) near Safford after the U.S. Forest Service determined the risk of wildfire is too extreme to allow access.

Additional information on active wildfires can be obtained through the Arizona Division of Emergency Management at http://www.azein.gov. To stay up-to-date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1

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