06/05/2018 Update on 377 Fire
Discovered: Monday, June 4, 2018
Location: 4 miles northeast of Heber/Overgaard, Arizona
Percent contained: 0%
Size: 4900 acres Cause: Human Caused
Vegetation: Pinyon-Juniper, grass understory, with pockets of Ponderosa Pine
Personnel Assigned: 250
Update: The White Mountain Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team, Incident Commander Chris Johnson, took over control of the 377 Fire at 0600 this morning. The 377 Fire was first reported as a series of fires along State Highway 377 at 1:26 p.m. on Monday. The first fires was reported at milepost 1 on Highway 377 and within minutes 15 individual fires had been reported stretching from milepost 1 to 22 on State Highway 377. Multiple municipal, state, and federal agencies responded. The fires burning primarily in grassland from Milepost 9 to 22 were under control by sunset, but fires within the forested area quickly grew together, threatening private homes in the Despain Ranch area. The fire damaged the main power line delivering power to the communities of Heber and Overgaard. A full evacuation of Despain Ranch was carried out, all residents and animals were safely moved from the area. An evacuation shelter has been established at the Navajo County Fairgrounds in Holbrook. Utilizing dozer lines and retardant drops, crews have reduced the threat to structures in the Despain Ranch area.
The fire inflicted severe damage to the Navopache Electric Cooperative (NEC) line which provides power to the Heber/Overgaard community. NEC crews worked throughout the night, and continue working to restore power. Barring unforeseen circumstances, they hope to re-energize the substation sometime this afternoon. Please check their website at navopache.org for updates.
Yesterday retardant and water drops, carried out by three single engine air tankers (SEAT), a very large air tanker (VLAT), and several helicopters, were successful in assisting in structure protection around Despain Ranch and slowing the northern progress of the fire. Ground crews began constructing dozer lines on the east and west flanks, anchoring into State Route 277 along the fire’s south side and working north.
Cool overnight temperatures calmed fire behavior and allowed crews time to plan for today’s actions. Today crews will continue to work on building fire line employing dozers and hand-crews around the perimeter of the fire. As temperatures rise, fire activity and smoke will increase. Air support will continue through the day, utilizing retardant and water where necessary to reduce fire behavior and forward spread. Prevailing winds will continue to be out of the southwest, pushing the fire further away from Heber/Overgaard. Increase in acreage overnight is due to improved mapping of the entire fire area. Little to no growth occurred overnight.
Weather: Warm dry weather will continue through the first part of the week, with high temperatures reaching into the high 80’s, and daytime relative humidity in the single digits. Winds should remain calm at 10-15 miles per hour and gusts to 25.
Closures and Evacuations: Arizona Department of Transportation has closed State Route 277 from milepost 306 at the State Route 260 junction in Heber/Overgaard to milepost 366 at the State Route 77 junction in Snowflake. The entire length of State Route 377 remains closed from Holbrook to State Route 277.
Despain Ranch remains under a mandatory evacuation order.
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