Unexpected Diminished Winds Aid Firefighters

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A February Fire update will be broadcast live on the Payson TV station, Channel 4 today (Sunday) at 3:00 p.m.

Posted: 10:15 a.m.

Firefighters took advantage of unexpectedly varied and diminished winds Saturday to continue burnout operations and reinforce the fire line around the February Fire.

The fire remains at 2,475 acres and 30 percent containment according to Vincent Picard, deputy public affairs officer for the Tonto National Forest.
"Eddying winds often aided firefighters, pushing the fire back into itself
and helping expand the black line," said Rick Hartigan, fire information officer for the Arizona Central West Zone Incident Management Team.

Firing operations were conducted along the road leading to Boy Scout Camp Geronimo, moving down into sparser fuels north of the Control Road.

Prescribed fires performed by firefighters of the Tonto National Forest
along the Control Road over the last two years have thinned the fuels well. This provides a fuel break that reinforces the fire line along the road.

Other prescribed fires and fuel thinning projects in the area have provided fuel breaks that have stopped the advance of the February Fire and provided a secure anchor for the building of fire lines. Aerial ignition or hand ignition of unburned fuels within the fire perimeter is expected today.

Firing operations will continue along the Camp Geronimo access road to the Control Road and east from there.

The fire was caused by an abandoned campfire, which is now under investigation. It is fueled by chaparral, pine and juniper in rough, broken, steep terrain 10 miles north of Payson and six miles east of Pine.

Currently, 507 personnel are engaged in suppression efforts using 22 engines, six dozers, 12 water tenders, six helicopters and two air tankers.

The Control Road (FR 64) remains closed between the Geronimo Estates Roads (FR 458) and the Washington Park Road (FR 32). Residents will have access to their properties. To protect those traveling and working along the Control Road, the speed limit is 20 mph.

A February Fire update will be broadcast live on the Payson TV station, Channel 4 today at 3:00 p.m.

The Roundup's website will continue to be updated with changes as they occur.

For further closure and fire information, see the Tonto National Forest
website, www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto.

Related link, including fire progression map
Arizona Central West Zone Incident Management Team

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