Poco Fire grows, poses threat to power lines for Phoenix

Posted: Updated:
View of Poco Fire driving home from Payson By Jennifer Thomas View of Poco Fire driving home from Payson By Jennifer Thomas
Highway 288 looking south By Jennifer Thomas Highway 288 looking south By Jennifer Thomas
DC-10 drops retardant on Poco Fire By Jennifer Thomas DC-10 drops retardant on Poco Fire By Jennifer Thomas
DC-10 after making drop on Poco Fire at sunset By Jennifer Thomas DC-10 after making drop on Poco Fire at sunset By Jennifer Thomas
North side of fire By Jennifer Thomas North side of fire By Jennifer Thomas

YOUNG, Ariz. -- The Poco Fire burning near Young poses a threat to power lines that provide energy to the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas.

The Poco Fire is now 3,700 acres and containment remains at 15 percent. The fire was reported Thursday afternoon and continues to burn in extremely rough terrain six miles northeast of Young. 

Officials said the fire was very active Monday with large plumes of smoke visible in the afternoon. Gusty winds challenged firefighting efforts as the fire moved into Saunders Canyon and spotted over Forest Road 128. Helicopters and air tankers were used to assist firefighters working to slow the spread of the fire.

Overnight, firefighters burned out from firelines to secure the northwest corner of the fire. Crews will hold firelines Tuesday and plan additional burnouts Tuesday night as conditions allow. The public may see smoke along the Mogollon Rim from Payson to Heber from time to time. 
 
In order to protect the APS power lines, firefighters are constructing and reinforcing fireline east of the fire in anticipation of a planned burnout operation between Forest Road 128 and FR 102 when conditions are appropriate.

More than 100 residents attended a community meeting Monday in the town of Young.

There are 704 personnel on scene consisting of 11 hotshot crews, six 20-person crews, 24 engines, four dozers, 14 water tenders and four helicopters. Crews from Arizona, California, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana have responded to the fire.
 
FR 512 remains closed between FR 291 and FR 200 (Chamberlin Trail). In addition, a portion of the ranger district is closed east of FR 200, south of FR 291 and north of FR 512.  

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality monitoring smoke impacts in outlying areas.

Poco Fire information can be found at www.inciweb.org/incident/2911.