Christmas Snow Falls On Forest Fire

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It was a white Christmas for firefighters battling the December Fire under the Mogollon Rim.

According to Tonto National Forest spokesman Jim Payne, one-half to one inch of snow fell on the 280 acres of burning forest near the Highline Trail, which helped firefighters get the upper hand on the blaze.

The fire burning north of Payson was spotted Dec. 18, and due to gusty winds, grew to 50 acres within that first afternoon.

"As of Tuesday morning, we've pulled crews off the burn, and have six people out there basically monitoring the fire," Payne said. "Today, there is no visible smoke at all. If there is no fire activity for the rest of the day, we'll call it contained at 6 p.m.."

Payne said the cause of the fire was determined to be an abandoned campfire.

Anyone with information about the person or persons who started the fire can call the Payson Ranger Station at 474-7900, the sheriff's department at 474-2208 or the police department at 474-5177.

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