ALPINE, Ariz. – The Wallow fire is consuming more of eastern Arizona as more spot fires resulting from embers are blown far from the fire lines.
One of those spot fires is burning just about two miles southeast of Alpine. It popped up Monday and spread quickly, ultimately joining with its originator the Wallow Fire.
“You can see the black billowing smoke which indicates a lot of intense heat,” said Suzanne Flory with the U.S. Forrest Service. “You're seeing a lot of trees sway in the wind because it's creating its own vortex, if you will.”
Alpine residents are not yet allowed to return. “There's nothing a crew could do in there,” said Flory. “Mother Nature needs to do its thing, it's too hot to have anybody do any work in there…need to let it settle down first.”
Firefighters are waiting for air support and hope the winds stay relatively calm while watching and working out ahead of the fire.
The hope is that this fire will run right into the burnout and dozer line the Forest Service put in place, causing the fire to run out of fuel before getting too much closer to town.
“It was burning pretty hot up in here we're just out mopping up right now,” said Taylor firefighter Chandler McCullough
Hot spots can be seen smoldering all over where the Wallow fire tore through a few days ago and the last thing anyone wants is for one of those to flare back up.
That is the reason why it could be another five to seven days before Alpine residents are allowed to return home.