Tourists, residents evacuate near Arizona wildfire

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Posted on June 26, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 30 at 10:58 AM

Map: San Juan Fire

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VERNON, Ariz. (AP) -- Winds pushed a wildfire in eastern Arizona's White Mountains past containment lines Friday and authorities said the blaze had charred about 8 square miles with no containment.

Crews appeared to have gotten a better handle on the San Juan Fire earlier in the day as it burned into wooded areas already thinned or charred by previous wildfires.

But in the afternoon hours, "the winds picked up and we did have a lot of movement on the fire," said Pamela Baltimore, a spokeswoman for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. "The fire crossed containment lines to the east and west."

Authorities said the north end of the fire was holding and planes were dropping slurry on active sections of the blaze in an attempt to re-establish the fire lines on the east and west flanks.

A Type II incident management team, the second-highest level available, took charge of the fire Friday because of the continuous sources of fuel ahead of the blaze which now has doubled in size since Thursday.

However, authorities said winds in the area were expected to subside Friday night and be light Saturday, which could allow firefighters to get a better handle on the blaze.

The fire southeast of Vernon was moving northeast between parcels of land that burned during wildfires in 2002 and 2011, authorities said.

Should it continue on that path, it would hit land with dry underbrush where it could make a run up trees and produce spot fires as winds gust around 20 mph over the weekend.

"We'll have to be very mindful of that," said Marta Call, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. "It's moving into untreated areas where there's a lot of dry underbrush, steep terrain, winds are gusting and temperatures rising."

Nine Hotshot crews, 12 engines, five heavy air tankers and a helicopter were fighting the fire on part of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and in the national forest.

Communities mostly populated with summer homes remained under mandatory evacuation orders because of the fire that first was reported around noon Thursday. Its cause remains under investigation.

A total of 37 summer homes in the Red Cabin Ranch and Whiting homestead areas remained evacuated as a precaution and authorities said up to 90 structures in three communities could be threatened by the fire.

They said the 90 structures include homes, barns, sheds and well houses.

More than 200 residents and tourists left the areas by the time evacuations were ordered Thursday night, Apache County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Richard Guinn said.

There have been no reported injuries.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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VERNON, Ariz. (AP) -- Crews battling a blaze in eastern Arizona's White Mountains got a better handle on it Friday as it burned into wooded areas already thinned or charred by previous wildfires.

The fire is at approximately 5,000 acres, according to the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.

The weekend might be a different matter, however.

The San Juan Fire southeast of Vernon was moving slowly northeast between parcels of land that burned during wildfires in 2002 and 2011, authorities said. Should it continue, it would hit land with dry underbrush where it could make a run up trees and produce spot fires as winds gust around 20 mph over the weekend.

"We'll have to be very mindful of that," said Marta Call, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. "It's moving into untreated areas where there's a lot of dry underbrush, steep terrain, winds are gusting and temperatures rising."

A Type II incident management team, the second-highest level available, took charge of the fire Friday because of the continuous sources of fuel ahead of the blaze.

Nine hotshot crews, 12 engines, five heavy air tankers and a helicopter were fighting the fire on part of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.

Communities mostly populated with summer homes remained under mandatory evacuation orders because of the fire that first was reported around noon Thursday. It has scorched 2.3 square miles.

A total of 37 summer homes in the Red Cabin Ranch and Whiting homestead areas remained evacuated as a precaution, said Kevin Bailey, a spokesman for the team managing the fire.

More than 200 residents and tourists left the areas by the time evacuations were ordered Thursday night, Apache County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Richard Guinn said.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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VERNON, Ariz. (AP) -- Most of a wildfire in northeastern Arizona's White Mountains now is burning into wooded areas already thinned or on remnants of a previous blaze, authorities said Friday.

Communities mostly populated with summer homes remained under mandatory evacuation orders because of the San Juan Fire that was first reported around noon Thursday southeast of the small community of Vernon, halfway between Springerville and Show Low.

But fire officials said crews may now be able to better manage the blaze estimated at 2.3 square miles, down from the 3 square miles reported earlier.

The wind-whipped fire produced a lot of smoke Thursday afternoon as it quickly grew and that could have inflated some original estimates about its size, authorities said.

A Type II incident management team, the second-highest level available, took charge of the fire Friday because of the continuous fuels ahead of the blaze.

Nine 20-person hand crews, 12 engines, five air tankers and four helicopters were battling the blaze on part of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

"Fuels treatment has really decreased fire behavior and is allowing crews to work closer to the fire's edge," said Kevin Bailey, a spokesman for the team managing the fire.

A total of 37 summer homes in the Red Cabin Ranch and Whiting homestead areas remained evacuated as a precaution, he said.

More than 200 residents and tourists left the areas by the time evacuations were ordered Thursday night, Apache County sheriff's spokesman Richard Guinn said.

The fire was slowly moving northeast in an area between land parcels that burned in wildfires in 2002 and 2011, according to authorities.

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VERNON, Ariz. (AP) -- Authorities say communities mostly populated with summer homes are under mandatory evacuation orders due to a growing wildfire in northeastern Arizona's White Mountains.

Apache County Sheriff's spokesman Richard Guinn says more than 200 residents and tourists left the areas of Red Cabin Ranch, Greens Peak Hideaway and the Whiting Homestead by the time orders were issued Thursday night.

Guinn says a half dozen others remained but have since left.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter in Eagar but nobody was there Thursday night.

The San Juan Fire has charred more than 3 square miles.

It was first reported around noon Thursday southeast of the small community of Vernon, which is halfway between Springerville and Show Low.

The Sheriff's office has closed several roads, including Forest Service Road 117.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Evacuations imposed in northeastern Arizona fire

VERNON, Ariz. (AP) -- Officials with the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest said the San Juan Fire laid down a bit overnight, but started picking up up speed again Friday morning.

Authorities say residents in several communities near a wind-whipped wildfire in northeastern Arizona's White Mountains have been ordered to evacuate.

Apache County officials say the areas of Red Cabin Ranch, Greens Peak Hideaway and the Whiting Homestead were given mandatory evacuation orders Thursday night.

Officials did not say how many residents were affected.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuees at a middle school in Eager but nobody was there Thursday night.

Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter spokesman Todd Tamcsin says the evacuated areas are primarily comprised of second homes.

The San Juan Fire has charred more than 3 square miles.

It was first reported around noon Thursday southeast of the small community of Vernon, which is halfway between Springerville and Show Low.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

VERNON, Arizona — A wind-whipped wildfire in northeastern Arizona's White Mountains has charred more than 3 square miles by Thursday evening, authorities said.

The San Juan Fire was reported at about noon southeast of the small community of Vernon, which is about halfway between Springerville and Show Low, and has about 2,500 residents.

The fire had charred about 100 acres by 2 p.m. and grew quickly to 2,000 acres, fanned by wind gusts of up to 45 mph, Apache County officials said.

It was burning in a northeasterly direction into the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, where ongoing thinning projects "will definitely help slow down any fire activity," forest supervisor Jim Zornes said.

Residents in the areas of Red Cabin Ranch, Whiting Homestead and Green Peaks Hideaway were being advised of a potential nonmandatory evacuation. A dozen structures reportedly were threatened, but it wasn't immediately clear if any were homes.

County officials said a group of Boy Scouts from Gilbert voluntarily evacuated a camp near Green's Peak Hideaway and a group of girls voluntarily left a camp south of Vernon.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Sgt. Richard Guinn, Apache County's Emergency Services Coordinator, said authorities have identified the point of origin in a forest area commonly used by campers about 16 or 17 miles east of Show Low.

Four hotshot crews, five heavy air tankers and several engines and bulldozers were battling the fire.

Forest officials said a Type II incident management team, the second-highest level available, will take charge of the fire Friday because of the continuous fuels ahead of the blaze.
 

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VERNON, Ariz. (AP) -- A wind-whipped wildfire is burning in northeastern Arizona about halfway between Springerville and Show Low and has grown to more than 2,000 acres which is 3 square miles.

The San Juan Fire was reported about noon Thursday southeast of the small community of Vernon.

Apache County officials say the wildfire had charred about 100 acres by 2 p.m. and grew quickly, fanned by wind gusts of 33 mph.

Authorities say the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Forestry and Wildland Fire Management officials say the wildfire is moving in a north-easterly direction into the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, where thinning projects could slow the blaze.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the Red Cabin Ranch sub division and Whiting Homestead as of 7:20 p.m. on Thursday, according to the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.

County officials said residents in the areas of Green Peaks Hideaway are on a non-mandatory pre-evacuation notice.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A wind-whipped wildfire in northeastern Arizona's White Mountains charred more than 1 1/2 square miles by Thursday evening, authorities said.

The San Juan Fire was reported at about noon southeast of the small community of Vernon, which is about halfway between Springerville and Show Low and has about 2,500 residents.

The fire had charred about 100 acres by 2 p.m. and grew quickly, fanned by 33 mph wind gusts, Apache County officials said.

It was burning in a northeasterly direction into the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, where ongoing thinning projects "will definitely help slow down any fire activity," forest supervisor Jim Zornes said.

Residents in the areas of Red Cabin Ranch, Whiting Homestead and Green Peaks Hideaway were being advised of a potential nonmandatory evacuation. A dozen structures reportedly were threatened, but it wasn't immediately clear if any were homes.

County officials said a group of Boy Scouts voluntarily evacuated a camp near Green's Peak Hideaway and a group of girls voluntarily left a camp south of Vernon.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Sgt. Richard Guinn, Apache County's Emergency Services Coordinator, said authorities have identified the point of origin in a forest area commonly used by campers about 16 or 17 miles east of Show Low.

Four hotshot crews, five heavy air tankers and several engines and bulldozers were battling the fire.

Forest officials said a Type II incident management team, the second-highest level available, will take charge of the fire Friday.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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PHOENIX -- A new wildfire was reported Thursday in northeastern Ariz., on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, according to the Facebook page for The Bureau of Indian Affairs Forestry & Wildland Fire Management - Fort Apache Agency.

The San Juan Fire was reported just before noon just west of Cerro Gordo. The fire is in mixed conifer and is about 2,000 acres.

The Fire is Southeast of Vernon.

Officials with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Forestry and Wildland Fire Management say the fire is moving in a north-easterly direction on the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.

Apache County officials say residents in both the Red Cabin Ranch Subdivision and the Whiting Homestead are on pre-evacuation notice.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team is being ordered up due to the continuous fuels in front of the fire.

Four Hotshot crews, Air Attack, a lead plane, Round Valley Helitack, 1 Seat, Cibecue Fuels, 2 Type 3 Engines, 2 Dozers, 2 Heavy Air Tankers are on the fire.

The Fire is moving in a north easterly direction on the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.

Smoke from the fire can be seen from Show Low.

Click here for more information from the White Mountain Independent

 

The Associated Press contributed to this story

 

 

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