SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. -- On Sunday June 12 at 10 am, the Apache County Sheriffs Office, after consulting with fire officials, has lifted the evacuation for the residents of the Springerville, Eagar and South Fork areas.
It has been determined that fire conditions have diminished enough that they will no longer be a threat to the citizens of the towns.
It should be noted, however, that the smoke still poses serious health hazards as has been outlined by Chris Sexton, Apache County Health Director, and the smoke problems may continue for weeks.
Because of the health problems associated with the smoke from the Wallow Fire, Apache County Public Health Services District and the Emergency Operations Center warns residents of Eagar, Springerville and South Fork that it would be best not to return to their homes until the concentration of smoke diminishes.
The Wallow Fire is burning in central-eastern Arizona. It is 443,989 acres and is 6 percent contained.
The fire is 6 percent contained. Last night firefighters finished burnout between Forest Road (FR) 275 and FR 220 northeast of Alpine; burnout completed near South Fork; and a 3-mile burnout operation was completed in the Turkey Creek drainage along FR 281 toward Blue Creek. Good progress continued along the southwest and west flanks of the fire.
Today, burnout operations will continue SE along FR 220 to tie in with State Hwy 180, northwest of Luna, NM. Burnout preparations will continue along FR 74 and Trail 33 through Malay Gap and along FR 116. Structure protection, burnout and mop-up operations to strengthen containment lines and patrol for spot fires will continue. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for today from 11 am to 8 pm, SW winds 15 to 20 mph, gusts to 40 mph; relative humidity 5-10 percent.
According to the State of Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, air quality in the Springerville and Eagar areas remains a health concern. Residents with respiratory problems in the path of smoke may want to consider relocating temporarily until smoke dissipates.
Community Meetings Today
• Evacuee Meeting, 10 am at the Red Cross Shelter, Blue Ridge High School, 1200 W. White Mtn. Blvd, Pinetop/Lakeside
• Show Low Area, 6 pm at the Blue Ridge High School auditorium
Community Meetings Tomorrow, June 13
• Burdette Hall in San Carlos, Arizona 10 am
• Community Center, Reserve, NM 7 pm MT
Sunrise, Greer, Blue River, Alpine, Nutrioso, and the following subdivisions along highways 180/191: Escudilla Mountain Estates, Bonita, White Mtn. Acres, and the H-V Ranch. This area includes County Road (CR) 4000, CR 4001, and CR 4225.
There have been no evacuations in New Mexico.
The evacuation center is located at Blue Ridge High School, 1200 W. White Mtn. Blvd., Pinetop/Lakeside. The center phone number is (602) 336-6660.
Evacuees of Eagar and Springerville may pick up their mail at Whipple Ranch Elementary School, 1350 N. Central Avenue, Show Low, AZ, between 11 am and 3 pm Monday through Saturday.
Residents with livestock or animals that need care should contact the Apache County Sheriff’s Office (928) 337-4321 or the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office (928) 865-4149.
A pre-evacuation alert continues in Apache County for Greens Peak, Hidden Meadows Lodge and the surrounding areas.
A pre-evacuation alert by the Catron County Sheriff’s Office continues for Luna, New Mexico.
Residents in the communities affected by this fire are asked to remain prepared to evacuate should an order be issued.
Road Closures according to Arizona Department of Transportation
State Route 373, a 4.5-mile-long highway that connects the town of Greer in eastern Arizona with SR 260 west of Eagar, is closed.
US 191 is closed between Alpine and north of Clifton (mileposts 176-253).
State Routes 261 and 273, the main access roads to Big Lake and Crescent Lake in the White Mountains, are closed.
US 60 is closed from Springerville to the New Mexico state line.
SR 260 is closed east of the Hawley Lake turn to Springerville and Eagar.
US 180 is closed between the SR 260 junction near Eagar and the New Mexico state line (mileposts 403-433).
Closures and Restrictions
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests: Due to extreme fire conditions, the Apache portion of the National Forest is closed to all public entry. For the Sitgreaves portion of the National Forest a temporary emergency closure order is in effect.
Wallow Fire (All Zones) summary:
Date Started: 05/29/2011
Location: Apache, Navajo, Graham, and Greenlee counties, Arizona; Catron County, New Mexico
Cause: Human – under investigation
Total Personnel: 4,311, including 24 hotshot crews and 84 hand crews
Residences: 2,714 threatened; 29 destroyed; 5 damaged
Commercial Property: 473 threatened; 4 destroyed
Outbuildings: 1,216 threatened, 35 destroyed
Injuries to Date: 6