Jun
09

Arizona’s Wallow Fire Continues to Burn

By

About.phoenix.comĀ  Judy Henning

UPDATE JUNE 9, 2011: Eagar and Springerville have now been evacuated. Power lines are one of the many concerns now, as that would result in rolling blackouts to communities in New Mexico and Texas. It is estimated that Arizona’s Wallow Fire will surpass the Rodeo-Chediski fire (468,000 acres) in acre consumption. Right now about 389,000 acres of forest have burned (about 607 square miles) and destroyed 11 buildings, with nearly 600 structures at risk. There have been no serious injuries reported. Here is a map of the Wallow Fire affected area.

A DC-10 tanker has arrived in Arizona. That aircraft is able to carry a 12,000 gallons of fire retardant. That’s about 5 times the load of a normal tanker used to fight wildfires. According to the referenced article, “While effective, the DC-10 comes with some steep costs — $56,000 per day with a five-day minimum plus $12,000 per flight hour.”

Other items you might be wondering about:

The fire has burned onto land under State Forestry Division jurisdiction. The Arizona Forestry Division was awarded a Fire Management Assistance Grant from FEMA, which will reimburse the state for some of the costs incurred for firefighting and evacuation.

The Arizona National Guard is providing logistical fuel support to fire crews at the Wallow Fire with three 2,500 gallon fuel tanker trucks and crew. Arizona National Guard forces are poised to deploy if needed.

The Department of Agriculture has deployed livestock officers to perform welfare checks on animals in the area and evacuate livestock that need to be relocated. Evacuated animals are being moved to areas in St. Johns and Show Low. Call the Apache County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 928-337-4321 or 800-352-1850 for more about those animals.

The Department of Health Services is assisting licensed facilities to ensure the safety of patients and staff, not only with evacuations of patients but also with information about smoke hazards.

The Department of Environmental Quality is monitoring air quality in Springerville and St. Johns.

The Department of Transportation is managing 200 miles of closed state highways and supporting evacuation efforts in coordination with emergency managers.

AZ Game and Fish Department has 30 wildlife officers either working on evacuation and security of parts of Eagar and Springerville and preparing information on impacts the fires might have on wildlife and on hunting and fishing in the affected areas.

The Department of Economic Security is monitoring the proximity of the fires to their facilities, including group homes for Child Protective Services, people with disabilities and the elderly.

The Arizona Humane Society has set up an animal shelter with medical support in Show Low for evacuated pets that are unable to stay with their owners at this time.

Anyone who wants to help is encouraged to do so can go online at www.AzEIN.gov for suggestions. Please do not try to visit the affected area of the fire — that doesn’t help.

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