Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sunflower Fire at 12,500 acres, 10 percent contained

 Fire activity expected to decrease as Sunflower Fire reaches old burn area
Fire restrictions now in place in Tonto National Forest

 Acres:  12,500                                     Start date:  May 12, 2012
Cause:  Under Investigation                   Location:  21 miles south of Payson
Containment: 10 percent                       Fuels:  Grass, chaparral, pinyon pine
Terrain:  Steep, rugged              Resources:  15 crews, 13 engines, 7 water tenders
Total personnel: 528                             Available air support:  7 helicopters, 6 air tankers
Summary:  Firefighters worked into the night doing burnout operations on the southeast flank of the Sunflower Fire near Forest Road 627 and the high voltage transmission line that parallels State Route 87.  The fire continues to be fuel driven with flames actively backing downhill against the wind.  In some areas, the flame activity is following drainages toward lands that were burned in 2004 by the Willow Fire.  Fire activity is expected to decrease when it reaches the old burn area due to lighter fuel loading.  On the west side, old fire scars from the Basin Fire of 1995 has slowed the fire activity in that area. 

Fire restrictions were implemented yesterday by the Tonto National Forest:  Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or charcoal-burning device is now prohibited on the forest.

Smoking is only allowed only in a developed campground, vehicle, or building.

Restrictions also apply to operating internal combustion power tools, using welding equipment or torches with open flames, operating combustion engines without spark-arresting devices in effective working order, or discharging firearms except in taking game in accordance with Arizona hunting laws. 
Use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, and heating devices are allowed, and some developed campgrounds are also exempted from these restrictions.

Violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.

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