Frye fire comes within half mile of Turkey Flat | Local News Stories


GRAHAM COUNTY – As the Frye Fire came within a half mile of Turkey Flat, a tentatively scheduled burnout operation planned for Sunday was canceled.

In a news release, the Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team said that on Sunday the fire spotted into the bottom of Twilight Creek near Forest Road 819, less than half a mile west of summer cabins at Turkey Flat. The burnout was scheduled in response to that movement, but later canceled.

The spotting was in an area that burned in the 2004 Nuttall Fire, where the reduction in fuels kept the fire confined in the drainage. Fire officials believed they could hold the fire in that location due to the successful use of aerial water delivery. Night operations and structure protection, including an extensive sprinkler system and 50,000 gallons of water in portable storage tanks, remain in place at Turkey Flat.

As of Monday morning, the fire had not moved out of Twilight Creek. Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) and helicopters concentrated on that are throughout Monday, and a portable retardant plant was set up in Fort Grant to supplement helicopter operations in Twilight Creek, Wet Creek, Grant Creek and other active fire locations.

Fire will continue to back downslope across the fire’s southern edge, from Jesus Canyon to Pitchfork Canyon. A short crown run upslope, back into the main fire, was visible late Sunday afternoon in Grant Creek. Fire officials said this would be common along the fire’s southern edge, which is in constant sunlight and associated heat.

Fire line rehabilitation was completed on the fire’s north and northeastern perimeter Sunday. Helicopters continued to drop water in Grant Creek and Hells Hole Canyon, and mopping up continued near the Mount Graham International Observatory, Old Columbine, the Bible Camp, Heliograph Peak and Riggs Lake.

The fire is being managed with multiple objectives; full suppression in areas safe for firefighter access, point zone protection of infrastructure and residences and monitoring. As of Monday morning, the fire was 45 percent contained. The incident management team said potential thunderstorms on Monday could produce outflow winds and affect fire growth.

Stage 2 fire restrictions remain in effect in the Coronado National Forest until rescinded. The following are prohibited:

Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal or wood stove fire, including within a developed recreation area or improved site

Using an explosive (Fireworks are prohibited year-round on Federal lands)

Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building

Operating or using any equipment powered by an internal combustion engine, except motor vehicles

Welding or operating acetylene torch or other torch with open flame

Discharging a firearm, air rifle or gas gun, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal or tribal law and regulations

Possessing operating motor vehicles off National Forest System roads, including but not limited to cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles and ATVs, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway, and except for parking overnight in Forest Service developed campground and trailheads

Follow David Sowders on Twitter @david_sowders

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