Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunflower Fire burning dead trees downed by Basin and Willow Fires

Sunflower Fire News Release
May 20, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Fire Information: (877) 208-2202 or (877) 208-4331

Acres:  16,620                                     Start date:  May 12, 2012
Cause:  Under Investigation               Location:  21 miles south of Payson
Containment: 33 percent                     Fuels:  Grass, chaparral, pinion pine
Terrain:  Steep, rugged                        Resources:  8 crews, 16 engines, 1 dozer, 9 water tenders
Total personnel: 462                            Available air support:  6 helicopters, 6 air tankers

Summary: The Sunflower Fire control lines near State Route 87 are no longer noticeable to passing motorists.  Crews continued “mop up” operations yesterday, cooling off stubborn hot spots within 100 feet of the control line. 

Although smoke has dissipated along the highway, sporadic smoke may be visible for months in the treacherous terrain of the Mazatzal Wilderness to the northwest of the main fire.  In that area, the fire is burning in dead trees downed by the Basin Fire of 1995 and the Willow Fire of 2004.  The old burn areas do not provide sufficient fuel to create the extreme fire behavior displayed at the onset of the Sunflower Fire.  Fires located in heavy fuels well within the current fire perimeter are not cause for concern.  Pockets of unburned fuel will ignite and burn out due to lack of additional fuels in the immediate area.  Fires in heavy fuels located near control lines do need attention. 

Fire operations in the days ahead will include patrol and mop up in areas of minimal concern. Helicopters will continue to be available for water drops in areas to the north where heavy fuels continue to smolder and flare near the control line in rugged, inaccessible terrain.

Fire danger remains extreme.  Fire restrictions remain in effect.  Compliance with these restrictions will help prevent additional fires.     

Heavy traffic is expected to continue along State Route 87 through the weekend.  Travelers on that road are cautioned to obey the speed limit signs and be aware of emergency vehicles moving onto and along the roadway.

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)

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