Skip to main content

Polles Fire

Unit Information

Tonto National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2324 E. McDowell Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85006

USFS Shield

Firefighters on the Polles Fire dedicate their continued efforts to pilot

Polles Fire Wildfire
News – 7/8/2020


Acres: 572 acres (improved mapping)                                        Percent Containment: 0% Start Date: Friday, July 3, 2020                                                          
 Cause: Lightning Origin Location: 11 miles W of Payson, AZ                                      
 Fuels: Pinion juniper, high desert grass Resources: approx. 360 personnel, including 9 crews, 14 engines, 3 dozers, 2 masticators

Firefighters on the Polles Fire dedicate their continued efforts in pilot’s honor

  Payson, Ariz. – On July 7, a helicopter under contract with the Forest Service for the Polles Fire on the Tonto National Forest crashed within the Mazatzal Wilderness yesterday taking the life of the pilot, Bryan “BJ” Boatman.  
  “Our deepest condolences go out to the Boatman family and friends during this very tragic time,” said Incident Commander John Pierson. “BJ is a member of our firefighter family and will be deeply missed. He took on a difficult job and served our nation well. Through his dedication, courage, and spirit, he will live on in the hearts and minds of all of us. We are continuing suppression efforts on the Polles Fire in his honor.”

 Hotshot crews, with the support of airtankers and helicopters, continue their efforts on the fireline within the wilderness. They are working directly as safely as possible, along a patchy mosaic of vegetation with varying levels of heat still present. These variations have made the process of containing the fire challenging, as firefighters continue to find heat that could weaken containment lines if high winds were present. As absolute certainty in the security of the containment lines and features is attained, containment percentages will begin to grow.   Firefighters have also been working to evaluate and improve established fuel breaks that have been built strategically over the years around the communities of Pine-Strawberry, Arrowhead Estates, and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. These areas of reduced vegetation adjacent to communities are the result of years of hard work and partnership with the community members, property owners, as well as the Tonto National Forest, Arizona Division of Forestry and Fire Management, and area fire departments, among many others, who continue to work year-round to reduce the wildfire potential within their communities. Firefighters have been strengthening these efforts as a contingency to help protect homes in the area, if needed.  

 There are no current threats from the Polles Fire to the communities of Pine-Strawberry or Payson. We encourage residents to become familiar with Arizona’s Ready-Set-Go program and sign up for their county emergency notification system and remain alert, ready and make essential preparations. Visit for more info.  

 The Tonto National Forest has a Closure in effect across the forest to prevent new human caused fires.  Details are available at

 The Tonto Natural Bridge State Park has closed due to the Polles Fire. For more information, visit:  

 The fire is burning in the areas of The Arizona Trail, White Rock and Big Springs. 

 Smoke forecast for the Polles Fire, visit:   

 Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of this area. More info, visit:

 Polles Fire Public Information
Public Line: (928) 351-7723
Media Line: (928) 351-7596 Email:
Inciweb: Tonto NF Facebook:
Tonto NF Twitter: Tonto NF Website: