Saturday, June 17, 2017

Major Success as Crews Complete and Hold South Flank Lines Above Communities

Highline Fire - June 17, 2017 Morning Update
Acres:    5,737 acres (based on infrared flight)
Start Date: June 10, 2017
Cause: Unknown, under investigation
Origin: 8 mi N of Payson in 1990 Dude Fire Scar
Containment: 44%
Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy and down, Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer
Total personnel: 1,240                                                
Yesterday crews achieved significant containment objectives by completing and securing lines on the fires south, east and west flanks.  Line construction was completed across Ellison Creek followed by a strategic firing operation to remove unburned fuels between the line and the main fire.  These lines held through the night and mark a key turning point in checking the fire’s south and eastward movement and adding protecting the communities of La Cienega, Ellison Creek Estates and Bonita Creek. Structure protection crews remain in place in the two evacuated communities.  On the west flank, firefighters connected fireline between the Rim and the Highline Trail, stopping the fire’s westward movement.  Crews completed burnout of fuels within the established lines to limit the fire’s spread.  Additional containment has been achieved on both the 300 Road above the Rim and along the Highline Trail above Bonita Creek.  The fire continued burning in interior islands of unburned fuels above the Rim in what was formerly the Bear Fire.  Several spot fires were suppressed by crews patrolling the area.

Crews today will work to secure containment on the north end of the former Bear Fire where the fire became active between the 95 and 139 Roads. Additional priorities are to hold lines where successful firing operations where completed in Dry Dude Creek and Ellison Creek.  Structure protection groups will remain in place in the communities south of the fire.
Today’s temperatures are expected to edge higher and relative humidity will remain critically low.  Expect to see active to very active fire behavior throughout the day. The potential for rapid fire growth is in place where interior islands of unburned fuels remain or should spot fires occur. 
A Highline Fire Community Meeting will be held tonight, June 17, at 7pm at Payson High School, 301 S. McLane Road, Payson, AZ. American Sign Language (ASL) services will be provided. We plan to try to livestream on Facebook at You do not need a Facebook account to view the recording available on Facebook following the meeting; however you can only view the meeting live if you’re logged in.
The communities of La Cienega and Ellison Creek Estates, in the Ellison Creek drainage north of the Control Road, remain evacuated as crews work to improve lines above the community.  The Bonita Creek subdivision remains in precautionary pre-evacuation status and residents should be prepared as conditions can change rapidly. Sign Up for Gila County’s Emergency Alerts at  This is the best way for the county to reach you with updates.
A Red Cross Shelter is located at the Payson High School, 301 S. McLane Rd, Payson, AZ 85541.  Large animals may be taken to the Payson Multi-event Center, 1400 S Beeline Highway, Payson, AZ.

Coconino and Tonto National Forests Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions remain in effect.

Firefighters are working to protect values at risk where they can safely do so safely and effectively.  Values include watersheds, private property and adjoining communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, federally protected species, and nationally and regionally trail systems.

Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. More info: Know Before You Fly,
Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 and (928) 362-2916 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)
Media Line: 928-793-1955
Arizona Emergency Information:

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