Thursday, May 24, 2012

Smoke from Sunflower Fire highly visible yesterday between Sunflower and Payson

Sunflower Fire News Release
May 24, 2012 1:30 p.m.
Fire Information: (575) 302-2107

Acres:  16,175                                     Start date:  May 12, 2012
Cause:  Under Investigation               Location:  21 miles south of Payson
Containment: 43 percent                     Fuels:  Grass, chaparral, pinyon pine
Terrain:  Steep, rugged                        Resources:  2 crews, 5 engines,
Total personnel: 84                              Available air support: 1 helicopter

Summary: Smoke from the Sunflower Fire was highly visible yesterday between Sunflower and Payson as “red flag” conditions promoted extreme fire behavior within fire containment lines.  The fire is most active near Mt. Peeley as pockets of unburned fuel continue to ignite in the Mazatzal Wilderness.  Fire behavior is minimal in other areas due to lack of continuous fuels as the Sunflower Fire bumps against the old burn area of the 2004 Willow Fire.   

Management of the fire was transferred this morning to Type 3 Incident Commander Brian Achziger. 
Achziger replaces Incident Commander Russ Copp whose incident management team was called to another fire.  A 20-person hand crew was also added to the fire resources this morning to strengthen contingency lines as weather conditions continue to provide potential for accelerated fire behavior and visible smoke.

The incident commander will be flying over the fire this afternoon in aircraft being utilized to re-map and update fire acreage.

Traffic along State Route 87 is increasing as Memorial Day weekend approaches.  Area visitors and residents are reminded to be aware of emergency vehicles that may be entering and exiting roadways in suppression efforts.  Fire restrictions are in effect in the Tonto National Forest.

For further information on the fire restrictions in the Tonto National Forest go to

For statewide road conditions and closures please go to or dial 5-1-1 from any landline or mobile phone from anywhere in Arizona.  (From outside Arizona, dial 1-888-411-ROAD (7623) or 602-523-0244).

For more smoke information and air quality forecasts, please visit the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality website at

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