Haigler Fire Grows To 660 Acres, Is Contained

California-type fire not likely here


Smoke from the Haigler Fire, east of Payson, could be seen as far south as milepost marker 237, some 5 miles south of town, on Highway 87 Friday afternoon.

Bob Dyson with Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest said the Haigler Fire now encompasses 660 acres, but it is fully contained.

Residents of Tonto Village and Christopher Creek had to deal with smoky conditions throughout the weekend, due to burnout operations on the fire.

Dyson said residents can expect to see smoky conditions through the coming weekend.

"The fire picked up a little Friday, due partly to the burnout operations, but by Saturday had calmed down, and crews have it well under control," Dyson said.

Another plume visible north of Payson Saturday was from the Wilkins Fire near Heber-Overgaard, Dyson said.

"The Wilkins Fire did pick up over the weekend," Dyson said. "We aren't calling it contained at this point, but crews do have it well within containment lines."

He said the Wilkins Fire has longer boundaries to grow within and burn itself out, so residents will continue to see smoke from the fire for some time.

The recent firestorm in California has some Payson residents worried about the same kind of fire happening here.

Dyson said the chances of a fire like the one currently raging in California is highly unlikely.

"People need to realize that Arizona doesn't have the same kind of weather conditions, vegetation and terrain, which allow a fire like the one in California to develop," Dyson said.

He said California has offshore and onshore winds that don't always die down at night.

"Those kinds of winds allow what is called a blowtorch effect that can keep a fire going strong," Dyson said.

"In Arizona, we don't have those winds at night, so the chances of a fire like it are extremely minimal."

He said the Rodeo-Chediski Fire is the type of fire Arizona has the highest potential of experiencing.

"It is very unlikely that a fire like the Rodeo-Chediski could happen either. We don't have the weather conditions right now that would easily result in a fire like that one," Dyson said.

Dyson said temperatures dropping down into the 40s at night, and soon to drop into the 30s, basically shut down a night-run fire.

He said the colder temperatures would keep Payson and surrounding areas at a minimal risk of a firestorm like the one in California from ever happening.

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