Fire Burns 150 Acres Of Forest Near Roosevelt

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Firefighters were scrambling Tuesday to contain a lightning-caused fire that was burning rugged terrain on the edge of the Salome Wilderness Area near Roosevelt Lake.

Due to the remoteness of the area located in the Pleasant Valley Ranger District about one mile northeast of Tanner Peak firefighters could only access the area by helicopter.

Unable to attack the blaze from the ground makes suppression efforts even more difficult, said Tonto National Forest Public Affairs Officer Jim Payne.

At press time, 114 firefighters were on the fire line, including three Hot Shot crews one from Blue Ridge, another from Mormon Lake and one from Gila, N.M. The firefighting effort is also being assisted by four helicopters flying water drops from Roosevelt Lake when not ushering crews.

According to Payne, the Forest Service's elite Central Western Zone Management Team is on standby to take over firefighting efforts. If the management team assumes control, it means officials believe the blaze has reached the point it can no longer be contained or controlled by local resource capabilities.

Also on standby are three air tankers stationed at Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. If the zone management team is called in, the air tankers could be used, Payne said.

So far, the blaze has burned approximately 150 acres of forest.

The fire started Saturday evening, Payne said, but was not spotted until early Sunday morning.

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