Cedar Fire Update June 21, 2016
Incident: Cedar Fire Wildfire
Location: Southwest of Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside, east of Highway 60 on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation
Start date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Size: Approximately 35,500 acres
Percent Contained: 20%
Cause: Unknown/Under investigation
Resources Assigned: Approximately 847 Personnel
The fire grew an additional 10,138 acres due to extremely hot weather and dry conditions.
The current perimeter of the fire extends directly south and east of Highway 60 across the Gila County/Navajo County boundary. The eastern edge of the fire has crossed over the Cedar Creek drainage. The southern perimeter is still approximately 1 1⁄2 miles north of Hwy 73, and approximately 2 miles north of the Cedar Creek community, burning in sparse vegetation. Crews continue to work on the south end of the fire to prevent further growth.
The north sector remains fairly quiet. Burnout operations were conducted at strategic locations on the western side and along reservation road 33 in the Middle Cedar Creek drainage. The 2015 Playground Fire scar on the eastern side of the fire is being utilized as a fuel break.
Fire activity may lessen slightly today as the temperatures lower and humidity rises slightly. There is a 30% chance of thunderstorms, but temperatures in the area are still 3-5 degrees above average. Winds are predominately from the south.
While subtropical moisture from the south will have a cooling, moderating effect on fire behavior, there is a chance it could produce gusty, erratic winds of up to 15 mph in the afternoon. There are isolated islands of unburned vegetation within the fire perimeter that may become active today.
Last night, the Navopache Electric Co-Op de-energized the power lines to Cibecue, Cedar Creek, and Carrizo to protect firefighters as they conducted burnout operations around power lines. Power lines were re-energized at approximately 11:30 p.m.
The Community of Cedar Creek remains under pre-evacuation notice. There are no orders at this time. If an evacuation notice is given, Cedar Creek would be evacuated to Round Valley Middle school in Eagar via Highway 73. Community members that choose to leave the area now can go to either Holbrook High School at 455 N 8th Ave., Holbrook or to the Round Valley Middle School 126 W. 2nd ST., Eagar, with their small animals. Livestock may be taken to Round Valley Rodeo Grounds, the Holbrook Fairgrounds, and the Taylor Rodeo Complex.
The community is invited to hear directly from Incident Management leadership at a community meeting scheduled to take place today. The meeting will be at:
5:30pm, Show Low City Hall, Council Chamber
181 N, 9th St. Show Low, AZ
Citizens wishing to attend the meeting should check the Show Low city website at http://showlowaz.gov/ to verify the location of the meeting.
This incident is making heavy use of aerial firefighting resources, such as air attack aircraft, lead planes, airtankers, and helicopters. These resources typically fly in smoky, windy, and turbulent conditions. Safety depends on knowing what other aircraft are operating in the airspace and where they are at all times. This is compromised by the presence of unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones.
Unauthorized UAS flights could lead fire managers to suspend aerial wildfire suppression operations – such as airtankers dropping fire retardant and helicopters dropping water - until the UAS has left the airspace and they are confident it won’t return.
The bottom line is that “If you fly, we can’t.” A temporary flight restriction known as a TFR, is currently in place over the entire fire area. It is illegal to fly a UAS anywhere within the TFR at any altitude.
The Southwest Incident Management Team is working closely with the White Mountain Apache Tribal Police and tribal leadership to keep community members up to date. Firefighters are assessing protection needs for the community of Cedar Creek and staging supplies for structure protection. Crews staffed the area all night and will continue to today. Operations managers are working actively with tribal representatives to protect valued cultural resources on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.