Facebook Wallow Fire Information
Inciweb.org (Frequently down)
U.S.D.A Forest Service Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests
New Mexico Fire Information
WeatherBug with Springerville webcam
NASA Earth Observatory (Incident satellite imagery).
Twitter Search #WallowFire
12 News Phoenix AZ
Wallow Fire 2011
Flickr, Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests (post image fair use, for linking)
Facebook Wallow Fire Information
Luna New Mexico is directly in the path of the monstrous Wallow Fire. GeoMac mapping software shows the fire taking direct aim at the tiny New Mexico community. Winds in Luna are blowing at 7 mph with gusts to 20 mph from the w/nw. Relative humidity in Luna is at a remarkable 4% at this hour. Wind in Luna tomorrow will come from the west at 9 mph but will increase into the teens Monday.
Wind in eastern Arizona calmed yesterday allowing Wallow firefighter to conduct firing operations and shore up containment lines. The wind returns today and will push the fire to the northeast and east farther into New Mexico. The Wallow Fire is officially listed at 408,000 acres with a mere 6% containment. The containment is probably closer to 40%.
Inciweb reports the following fire stats.
Number of Personnel: Approximately 4,422
Location: south and west of Alpine, Arizona
Including 26 hotshot crews and 76 hand crews
Cause: Human – under investigation
Equipment:28 dozers, 263 engines, 69 water tenders
Size: 408,887ac based on last night’s infrared data
Aircraft: 15 helicopters
Percent Contained: 6%
Injuries to Date: 3
Residences: 2,714 threatened; 29 destroyed 5 damaged
Structures: 35 destroyed
You can see the columns of smoke in the background of the webcam screen capture below. Winds 10 to 15 S/SW through the afternoon. Firefighters on the ground will be involved in hand to hand combat with flames defending homes and property throughout the afternoon and evening.
Click images to enlarge
The Wallow Fire is officially listed at 389,000 acres with zero percent containment.
Inciweb last night; Greer Activities
Fire has gone through Greer. We do not know the extent of the damage at this time. Firefighters are on scene in Greer conducting structure protection.
From Greeraz.com this morning;
6/9/2011 – 6:30 am Fire passed through the village of Greer last evening. Some structures were lost, owners are being notified, we have NO further news here but will update if there is any.
Facebook Greer Group update;
The following input came from the Greer fire department late Wednesday night:
The situation AT THIS MOMENT seems to be better than previously reported in the media and elsewhere, but not as good as hoped for. While the Honeybee Lodge was left untouched in Paradise Mt some others in the area were burned. The fire department saved several houses in the neighborhood so the damage on Wonderland Road at the end was minimal. Heaven Scent came through okay. Don’t yet know about the houses around the Butterfly Lodge Museum. Also some cabins on East Fork were damaged and the Peaks may have sustained some damage around the main building.
The fellows at the fire department said that nothing on the West side of Main Street burned at this time. Molly’s is okay, Sargent’s is okay. Not sure about Red Setter or the house at the end of the road next to Red Setter. One house on Ruhr was burned Also Crosby Acres seems to be spared.
Of course there are many flames still active but there are also hundreds of fire fighters in town to save houses that are still facing problems. Don’t yet know to what extent the damage is on the east side of the street.
We are not out of the woods yet, due to spot fires and trees burning in and around the valley, but tomorrow the wind is supposed to be calming down so that is a big plus. Please understand that as unpredictable as this fire is, status may change, but hopefully the worst is over for Greer. Unfortunately the fire is not done and probably won’t be until the rains come. We will send other info as it is forth coming. We’re pretty sure the fire department is a reliable source.
About Greer Arizona.
Two thousand five hundred firefighters are battling the Wallow Fire, less than half the number you might expect for a fire of this magnitude. When you under man an incident of this size you are acceding to the will of the fire and asking more from the personnel on the ground than they can safely deliver. Granted not a lot can be done against gale force winds but when you have only ordered up eight (8) bulldozers for a 300,000 acre fire burning for more than a week it suggests something is wrong.
I was talking with a retired Cal Fire Captain days ago about this fire and we were discussing the eventual perimeter. I was thinking this would run to the high desert and he contended they were probably building dozer “freeways” upwind somewhere to halt the progress at that point! Of course you are right I said. Of course, of course.
At that time we assumed there were dozers en route, we were wrong. Eight bulldozers over 600 square miles is a joke. It’s not like there are demands on fire resources throughout the region, this IS the big show. They could have used eight bulldozers in Nutrioso and still been short by a few. There can be no dozer containment lines of substance over 300,000 acres with the equivalent of a dozer strike team.
I got word last night from a friend in Arizona that was listening to the fire briefing on local TV. The incident commander apparently stated to the crowd that he was not up to speed on what is happening on the left flank. Apparently one or more of the three Indian reservations with local jurisdiction are doing there own thing on that flank. If true this is nothing short of amazing. Such an admission is bad for firefighter safety and morale in general.
You cannot fight a battle when you don’t know who you command. This is dangerous as well as a disservice to the forest and inhabitants therein.
Evacuated residents of Alpine and Nutrioso are not being told what has happened to their properties. There is no reason for this. Why put residents through this kind of stress when there are command personnel (div. sups.) on the ground in both communities. I have commenters with local interests asking on my blog if anyone knows the status of their home or the homes of their parents of friends. Come on, someone with a map and a radio do some damage assessment and give the folks a break.
I want to be clear, my criticisms are not pointed at the firefighters on the ground or in the air.
Here are some maps and images. Not much news is coming out of the incident base so I will continue to cover this fire through webcams, satellites and hearsay.
Update: In fairness to the Incident Commander (I’m trying) he was assigned to the fire with his team on June 5. The fire is split up between numerous teams and it is possible he was not brought up to speed on the entire fire. Even so as IC he should be up to speed in full before addressing the community. On this we should all agree.
Bill at Wildland Fire asks and answers the question, “Where are the VLAT’s? (very. large. air. tankers.)
Image, Google Earth
The Wallow Fire is still active on all fronts with movement to the east, west, north, n/w, n/e and even some active fire on the south perimeter. Alpine is completely surrounded as is Nutrioso. The fire wants the town of Greer but will come up against the best the Forest Service has to throw at it. It’s clear the big containment box is Highway 260 to the north and Highway 18 to the N/E. They already lost it farther south on 180. The Wallow Fire is the perfect storm of low fuel moisture, wind, topography and location.
Location, or more precisely lack of population is probably why there is a low ratio of firefighters to acreage involved. All considered there should be twice the resources committed to the incident.
There is still no definitive damage report from Nutrioso or Alpine and the incident PIO is very slow to get information out to the public. In the age of Twitter and Facebook there is no excuse for the continued silence.
Springerville/Eagar weather call for winds at 22 mph from the S/W tomorrow, mirroring today’s wind.
Imagery from GeoMac.
The Wallow Fire spread to the north and east yesterday. With no containment the fire is free to roam with the wind and there will be plenty of wind today. A pre-evacuation notice has been issued for Eagar and Springerville. Greer should be on watch today. Here is the weather summary for Springerville today, winds to 22 from the S/W.
Incident Overview (Inciweb)
The Wallow Fire is burning in eastern Arizona near the communities of Alpine, Nutrioso, and Springerville.
Date Started: 5/29/2011
Number of Personnel: Approximately 2,515 personnel
Location: south and west of Alpine, Arizona
Including 31 hotshot crews and 25 handcrews
Cause: Human – under investigation
Equipment: 12 dozers, 138 engines, 31 watertenders
Size: 233,552 acres (Infrared data as of June 5, 10:09 P.M.)
Aircraft: 22 helicopters
Percent Contained: 0%
Injuries to Date: none
· A community meeting is being held at the Springerville High School Auditorium, Tuesday, June 7, 6:00p.m.
· Evacuation of the Sunrise and Greer communities was announced this afternoon by the Sheriff’s Office.
· The evacuation of Blue River, Alpine and Nutrioso residents remains in effect.
· Evacuations by the Apache County Sheriff’s Office included the following subdivisions along highways 180/191: Escudilla Mountain Estates, Bonita, White Mtn. Acres, and the H-V Ranch. This area includes CR 4000, CR 4001, and CR 4225
Pre-evacuation alert issued by Apache County Sheriff’s Office for Eager and Springerville.
· Catron County Sheriff’s Office has issued a pre-evacuation notice to the residents of Luna, New Mexico.
Residents in the communities affected by this fire are asked to remain prepared in the event an order is needed.
· Structures threatened: 348 ; Structures lost: 4
· Firefighters continue perimeter control in conjunction with San Carlos and Ft. Apache Indian reservations and continue point protection around values at risk.
· Spot fires occurred up to 3 miles ahead of the fire on the northeast flank due to extreme winds.
· A Red Flag warning remains in effect until 8:00pm due to low humidity and high winds.
Due to extreme fire conditions, the Apache National Forest is closed to all public entry. See website for closure order details. Please see the Forest website for more information: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Fire Restrictions: A Temporary Emergency Closure Order for the Apache National Forest was issued effective June 3 at 12:00 p.m. (noon). For more information, please call the Arizona fire restrictions hotline 1-877-864-6985 or visit http://www.wildlandfire.az.gov/.
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Under Investigation
Date of Origin Sunday May 29th, 2011 approx. 01:30 PM
Location Eastern AZ near Alpine, Nutrioso, and Springerville
Incident Commander Joe Reinarz, John Philbin
The Wallow Fire has scorched 233,500 acres of prime Arizona forest land. The mountain communities of Alpine and Nutrioso have apparently escaped major damage even as the fire swept around and through the towns. Credit expert firefighting if this turns out to be true.
Inciweb has the fire at 233,522 acres with 2,315 fire personnel on scene. Oddly Inciweb offers no containment figures. Inciweb publishes information provided to them from incident management. There is no update on containment or damage assessment in the most recent update.
Here is a webcam view from Greer to the west of the fire.
· The pre-evacuation notice by the Apache County Sheriff’s Office to the residents of Greer community and the surrounding areas remains in effect.
· Catron County Sheriff’s Office has issued a pre-evacuation notice to the residents of Luna, New Mexico
June 6 satellite image via NASA.
5 pm June 5 updated map below;
Last update from local Arizona media place the Wallow Fire at 180,000 acres, zero containment. Note in the updated GeoMac fire mapping software how the active fire is burning on all fronts. Long range spotting to the north and east will fill in considering the lack of resources committed. Weather will dictate now where the Wallow Fire goes and for how long.
Have a look at the fire progression in only six hours today. Note the easterly run towards the New Mexico border. That side of the fire appears lost completely. On the north and west front it appears firefighters are trying to or have tried to contain it south of Forest Service Road 249 and east Forest Service Road 91. Firing operations may account for the spots on the GeoMac imagery. If they lose that their next containment line might be Highway 260 to the north and Highway 261 to the west. Fire equipment is being staged in Eagar.
With only 1,500 firefighting personnel assigned to the Wallow Fire it’s pretty much assured if the fire visits these communities there will be little left in its wake. As you can see in the GeoMac fire mapping imagery below the fire is withing reach of Alpine and Nutrioso today.
Winds today for Alpine and Nutrioso are predicted to blow from the south with gusts to 16 mph, this is not good.
Inciweb.org has a fire progression map supplied by the fire management team that shows the parabolic growth of the Wallow Fire since the start on May 29.
Today will tell the story for Nutrioso and Alpine. Eagar, Greer and Spingerville are on watch. With zero containment and drought fed fuel the Wallow Fire story is in the early chapters.
Imagery from NASA