Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sunflower Fire erupts to 8,500 acres

Photos by Jim Keyworth
At the top, the Sunflower Fire as seen from the Beeline Highway south of Sunflower at 1 p.m. Tuesday.  Below, the fire as seen from Houston Mesa Road north of Payson at 5 p.m. Tuesday.  

Sunflower Fire Update
May 15, 2012 6:00 p.m.
Acres:  8,500                                            
Start date:  May 12, 2012
Cause:  Under Investigation
Location:  21 miles south of Payson
Containment: 7 percent                        
Fuels:  Grass, chaparral, pinyon pine
Terrain:  Steep, rugged                        
Resources:  12 crews, 7 engines, 2 dozers, 2 water tenders
Total personnel: 394                             
Available air support:  5 helicopters, 6 air tankers

Summary:  As anticipated, the Sunflower Fire was very active today with three areas of growth on the north, northwest and west sides of the fire.  The movement has been to the northwest overall.  The fire is expected to continue its growth until it contacts the fire lines at the perimeter of the 2004 Willow Fire.  At that point, the change in available fuel will significantly reduce fire behavior and provide the opportunity for firefighters to contain the fire.

The Sunflower Fire is presently burning in fuels similar to those that were present in the Willow Fire.  These dense fuels, along with the very rugged terrain, contributed to the extreme fire behavior observed today.  The reduced fuel found along the perimeter of the Willow Fire will act as a fuel break and help reduce that fire behavior.

No communities are threatened by the Sunflower Fire at this time.  Fire information officers will be in Payson this evening and in the days ahead to answer questions.


The Green Fire is located one mile south of Arizona 260 at mile marker 279 near FR 300.  Resources are committed.  This is all we know at present.  When we have more information it will be posted.

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