Although abandoned campfires cause plenty of wildfires in the high county, it’s a different story in the desert. Here are six ways you can accidentally start a wildfire.
A lightning-caused wildfire that has been burning for three weeks about 6 miles south of Globe has consumed more than 4,000 acres and caused smoke to drift into the city on Wednesday, Tonto National Forest officials said.
On Tuesday, the Pinal Fire consumed brush in Icehouse Canyon that produced heavy smoke throughout the night and posed a moderate air-quality concern for “sensitive groups” such as children and the elderly, according to officials.
The fire was 21 percent contained and crews working on the fire were making “great progress,” said Kelly Wood, a spokesman for Pinal Rural Fire and Medical.
No one has been evacuated from the area, he said.
The Pinal Fire is the first naturally caused fire to spread through the area in 65 years, starting from a lightning strike on the afternoon of May 8. The fire is being fueled by timber and chaparral in the area, officials said.
Fire officials determined early on to treat the fire as a controlled burn because the area had not burned naturally in so long, while keeping crews in place to prevent it from crossing containment lines.
Some of the portions of brush that the fire caught Wednesday are nearly 12 feet tall, Wood said, adding that helicopters are above the area to ensure that it doesn’t become an “explosive fire.”
So far, Wood said, there’s no real danger of that happening.
“It’s grown into some of the canyons,” Wood said. “It has not gone outside the contained lines. It’s not out of control or anything like that.”
Wood said there are more than 300 personnel working to contain the fire, adding that officials recently transitioned from a type-three Incident Command System team to a type-one team.
The transition gives personnel more access to resources to combat the fire and signifies the blaze is more serious than a fire that would be handled under a type-three team, which Wood said is often reserved for smaller fires.
As of Wednesday evening, the fire had burned about 4,300 acres of land, according to the Tonto National Forest.
Officials said several recreation sites and trails are closed while crews continue to battle the blaze, including the Kellner Group campground, the Pinal and Upper Pinal campgrounds, the Pioneer Pass dispersed camping area, and the Icehouse CCC campground.
Smoke in the Globe area is expected to lift by Thursday morning, Wood said.
The Tonto National Forest said the fire is expected to be contained by June 15.
Here are some tips to keep your family and home safe during wildfire season. Paige Schwahn/USA Today Network
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