About a million acres burned in Arizona fires
Web Producer: Marissa Pasquet
Williams, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Arizona is closing in on nearly 1 million burned acres this year. The fire burning near the Grand Canyon has pushed the total acreage blackened by wildfires this year to an all-time high of 981,748 acres, surpassing the previous mark of 975,178 acres in 2005, according to official reports.
The U.S. Forest Service says the largest wildfire, the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona, burned 538,049 acres or 840 square miles, at the time of this report.
Beale managers report the fire has grown to 2,670 acres, which is located 16 miles northeast of Williams, Arizona.
The lightning-caused wildfire known as the Beale fire is being managed for resource objectives within an 8,000-acre boundary southwest of Kendrick Mountain in the Williams Ranger District.
Officials report the fire has reached a management action point and will focus operations as of today, Thursday, August 11, 2011, on Government Mountain, which is south of the fire.
Weather permitting, aerial ignitions will be used to start backing the fire off of Government Mountain to prevent potential rapid up-slope runs. In addition, crews will continue to work with the fire that is blazing south, along Forest Rd.134, to secure the northeastern edge of the management area.
Resources currently working on the incident include five engines, one water tender, two crews and one helicopter, with a total of about 58 personnel.
The Kendrick fire lookout officials say smoke traveled west and north of the fire area Wednesday night, with minimal impacts to Spring Valley. The weather forecast predicts a chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms Thursday, along with light southwest winds.
There are no closures associated with the Beale Fire. Forest visitors however, are advised to avoid camping in or near the management area of the occurrence. There are potential hazards in the fire area including burning stumps, hidden stump holes and fire-weakened trees. Visitors are cautioned: Please Do Not attempt to suppress active fire within the management area!
Authorities have posted maps at several locations around the management area for reference.
Weather forecasters with the Southwest Coordination Center, a multi-agency emergency task force, say the destructive wildfires stem from extremely dry weather and windy conditions. It was these conditions that fed several monster fires which tore through hundreds of thousands of acres of forest and grasslands.
As of now, primarily monsoon storm-sparked fires are adding to the burned acreage numbers. The latest fires have been less destructive, thanks to humidity and moisture from the storms.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.