Pinal Fire continues to burn

© 2017-Silver Belt

Gila County — The Pinal Fire was started by a lightning strike at 3 p.m. on May 8. The fire is located on the Globe Ranger District, six miles south of Globe.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the fire had grown to 206 acres and was 0 percent contained. Wildfire last burned in the area in 1952, so firefighters are letting the fire burn. Private land, infrastructure and recreation facilities will be protected from fire. Incident Commander Andrew Mandell issued the following update on Monday. For the latest information about the fire, please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5176.

Resources on Fire: The Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team. There are 5 crews, 8 engines, 1 Type 3 helicopter and a total of 220 Firefighters assigned to the incident.

Restrictions and Closures: A closure order for the area has been established and will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

A new Temporary Flight Restriction of 15 miles long, by 7 miles wide, has been placed over the fire area encompassing Pioneer Campground, the 55-651 roads and around the north side of the ridge.

Operational Activities: Crews will continue with preparation and defense around structures and infrastructure along indirect control lines. This includes cutting down dead trees that may become a hazard as the fire gets closer to those areas. Chipper crews continue to place wood chips near structures and control lines to help serve as a fuel break. Wildfire last burned in this area in 1952. The natural fire frequency of that landscape is in need of the reintroduction of low-severity fire into the ecosystem to provide for fire adapted communities and infrastructure resulting in enhanced overall forest health for the future. One of the objectives of this incident is to restore ponderosa pine and mixed conifer fuel types to a more drought tolerant and natural condition while protecting the community water shed from erosion. Private land, infrastructure and recreation facilities will be protected from fire. Public and firefighter safety will remain paramount in all decisions and they are based on the values at risk.

Fuels: The major fuel types, found in and around the Pinal fire are long needle pine litter, conifer litter, grass, grass/shrub and shrub. The primary carrier of the fire at this time is long needle pine litter. Typical spread rates and flame lengths will be low to moderate in these fuel models.

Fire Behavior: Continue to expect increased smoke in the area, due to active fire behavior which will continue to spread upslope following ponderosa pine and conifer stringers. As the fire continues to grow, it will expand the consumption of large dead trees on the ground, which will add to the smoke effect.

Values at Risk: Private land and residences are in the vicinity of the wildfire area. Crews are protecting those homes through mechanical treatment and brush removal using chain saws and chippers. Electronic and communication sites are on Signal, Sulphide Del Ray, and Pinal Peak. Forest Service structures, campgrounds and infrastructure are present as are Mexican Spotted owl habitat and cultural and historic sites.

Special Concerns: Firefighter & public safety is the priority. Firefighting aircraft cannot fly if drones or remote control aircraft are in the air. Do not fly such aircraft within the temporary flight restriction area.

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