Location: Whiting Knoll Cause: Lightning Percent contained: 5%
Date Reported: June 30, 10 a.m. Size: 1,625 acres Fuel: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa, grass understory Resources assigned: 5 engines, 3 hand crews, 2 bulldozer, 1 helicopter, 1 water tender
Springerville, July 5, 2019 – For Immediate Release – The 4th of July was an active day on the Whiting Knoll Fire east of Vernon. Crews continued with back fire operations, bringing the fire down to Forest Roads 117 and 65 fire line and Apache County Road 3123 fire line. Due to the heavy holiday traffic and active fire in direct proximity, fire managers and Apache County officials have closed these roads for firefighter and public safety.
Early in the day, the fire entered a sizeable pocket of heavy fuels consisting of mixed conifer with a heavy dead and down component resulting in a substantial smoke column through the day. A Navopache powerline that runs through this heavy timber pocket has tripped off line, causing power outages to customers in the Greens Peak area. Due to the heavy fire activity yesterday, line crews were unable to access the area. Navopache anticipates accessing and assessing the distribution line this morning. Currently, the level of impact to the line is unknown and there is no estimate on when power will be restored to affected customers.
Although an active day, operations went as planned and crews held the fire within the fire lines.
Today fire crews will focus on holding and reinforcing fire lines where needed utilizing ground ignitions. Smoke is expected to be heavy into the evening.
Weather: Moisture is expected to graze the White Mountains starting this afternoon bring a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms into the weekend.
Safety: Smoke may be heavy at times along U.S. Highway 60 between mileposts 370 and 379. Visitors are reminded to use their headlights and drive with caution through areas impacted by smoke. Forest visitors are reminded to drive with caution on all forest roads.
Road Closures and Restrictions: Apache County Road 3123 is closed from Apache County Road 1326 to Forest Road 117. Forest Road 117 is closed from Apache County Road 1326 to the junction with Forest Road 65. Forest Road 65 is closed in its entirety.
Individuals sensitive to smoke are encouraged to visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website at http://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/extreme-weather/index.php#wildfires-home for additional information regarding the dangers of wildfire and prescribed burn smoke and wildfire preparedness. Air quality data from across the state can be viewed at www.Phoenix.net/PPMmain.aspx.
Fire restrictions: The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is not currently in fire restrictions. Visitors are reminded to be very careful with fire. Never leave a fire unattended – even for a short time.
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Additional Information on wildfire and wildfire safety can be found at:
o Northeastern Arizona Public Information System: http://311info.net/ or call 311 or 928.333.3412 o Arizona Fire Restrictions: http://firerestrictions.us/az/ o Fire Restrictions and Red Flag Alerts: http://wildlandfire.az.gov/ o Wildfires Near Me: http://www.wildfiresnearme.wfmrda.com/