190-Acre Mogollon Fire Still Smolders On The Rim

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Like a bad headache, the Mogollon Fire won't go away.

Ignited July 22 by a lightning strike, the 190-acre fire continues to smolder just west of Myrtle Point at the base of the Mogollon Rim. The fire which is being monitored by two fire crews could continue to burn for about another week, Payson Ranger District Fire Management Officer Bob Ortlund said.

Because the fire is burning in a rugged area of steep cliffs that is extremely difficult to access, officials opted for a contain-and-monitor philosophy rather than risk sending crews to extinguish it, Ortlund said.

Forest Service officials are also keeping close watches on four other lightening caused fires that began the past two days. All are less than an acre and have been contained.

One of those fires the Ranch Fire located off Milk Ranch Point is producing considerable smoke but has burned just 1/4 acre, Ortlund said.

With more monsoon lightening storms expected over the next few days, Ortlund anticipates the Payson Ranger District crews which includes five engines and a type 2 team from New Mexico will be kept hopping.

Because the recent monsoons have contained little moisture, vegetation in the local ranger district continues to be stressed by the spring draught.

That increases fire danger for Ortlund's already stretched-tight crews.

The answer to the fire problems in the Rim country is simple, he said, "more rain."

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