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McDonald Tank Fire

Unit Information

Fort Apache Agency
Bureau of Indian Affairs
P. O. Box 560 Whiteriver Arizona 85941
Whiteriver, AZ 85941

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McDonald Tank Fire Daily Update 05/28/2021

McDonald Tank Fire Wildfire
News – 5/28/2021


Incident Management Team

Ben Plumb – Incident Commander

Public Information Officer: 928-245-1585

Firefighters Deploy Cutting-Edge Aerial Technology 

McDonald Tank Fire: Friday, May 28, 2021

·CORRECTED: No Plastic Sphere Dispenser operations on 5/27/21·

Location of Origin:
25 miles southeast of Whiteriver, Arizona

Start Date: May 23, 2021

Size: 1,738 Acres

Cause: Under investigation

Percent Contained: 0

Personnel: 171

Fuels: Timber, Brush, Tall Grass

Resources Assigned: 4 type 6 Engines, 1 type 3 Engine, 3 Interagency Hotshot Crews, 1 type 2 Crew, 1 type 2 Initial Attack Crew, 3 Water Tenders, 2 type 1 Helicopters, 2 type 3 Helicopters, 2 Dozers, and other miscellaneous incident management overhead.

Fire managers utilized an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) drone equipped with infrared cameras to identify heat sources, to spot active smokes, and to recon areas that may be inaccessible to firefighters. Burnout operations were conducted yesterday to ignite unburned pockets of fuel to mitigate any threats to control lines. The fire continued to spread north up McDonald Creek, both on the east and west flanks. Firefighters will continue to scout road systems today and will work to secure the fire lines down into the Black River.

The Fort Apache Indian Reservation has enacted stage 2 fire restrictions, prohibiting all campfires from 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. The San Carlos Apache Tribe initiated modified stage 2 fire restrictions today, prohibiting all campfires from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

To ensure the safety for both firefighters and the public, the junction at Y70/Y30, the Y40/Y70 junction, and everything south of Maverick and Tonto Lake is temporarily closed. The public is urged to drive with caution on the Y70 road due to logging truck traffic and timber operations. The Malay Gap Management Unit on the San Carlos Apache reservation is closed due to the McDonald Tank fire. 

Smoke may be visible along U.S. 260 and 60 and in nearby communities to the north and north-east. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures.

Warm and very dry weather is expected to continue through Saturday. Today’s forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 83 degrees and winds up to 15 mph in the afternoon.

Values at risk:
The McDonald Tank fire area includes important lands to the White Mountain Apache people. Firefighters are working to protect the Ten O’ Diamonds Ranch House and other historical structures, commercial timberlands, critical watersheds,  riparian areas, rangelands, and recreation and wilderness areas.

Official fire information can be found on these sites.

• Inciweb:  

• Facebook:  

• Apache-Sitgreaves website:  

• ADEQ Air Quality Information:

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