Fire Crews Get Jump On Five Mile Fire

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Heavy rain Wednesday night helped firefighters get the upper hand on the Five Mile Fire that burned one mile north of Strawberry.

As of Friday morning, the fire is 80-percent contained, and has burned about 400 acres.

"This fire is not a done deal yet," Buck Wickman, operations chief for the Southwest Area Management Team said Wednesday night. "It's a really great thing that happened but we still have a lot of work to do."

It was about noon, when the human-caused fire was spotted in the small canyon near the hairpin turn just north of Strawberry at milepost 272.2. The start of the fire was about 400-feet north of the highway, P-S Fire Chief Paul Coe said. The fire is still under investigation by Forest Service Law Enforcement.

P-S Fire Department began the initial attack and within two hours, the Mormon Lake Hot Shots and the Zuni Hot Shots had joined the effort.

The fire being pushed north and east by the gusty southwest winds began throwing flames into Strawberry Canyon to the east.

To keep the fire at bay, the Southwest Area Management team brought in a solid air attack. More than 5,000 gallons of water came from the Bennett Pond in the Cimarron Pines subdivision in Pine Creek Canyon by a helicopter bucket dropping 500 gallons at a time on the flame front.

"That was what saved Pine Creek Canyon before the rain came," Pete Schwab, Deputy Air Operations Chief said.

The fire closed Highway 87, stranding motorists in Strawberry.

When the rain came, it bought firefighters time to get in and work on the fire.

"But there is a lot of work to do yet," Jim Payne, Forest Service spokesman said.

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