Plumes of white smoke fill the sky near Pine where a forest fire broke out near Pine Creek Canyon around 5:30 a.m. Monday, April 27.
A wild fire that broke out around 5:30 a.m. Monday, April 27 near Dripping Springs Trail on a remote section of the western face of the Mogollon Rim is now within 400 yards of some homes.
Fire crews established a base camp in the Solitude Trails Subdivision, where the fire is within several hundred yards of expensive homes in the subdivision.
At mid-morning, Payson Ranger District Fire Management Officer Don Nunley said the blaze had already consumed 15-20 acres of timberland, mostly ponderosa pines. By mid-afternoon it appeared from ground reports it had spread to some 50 acres.
One Tonto National Forest hotshot crew immediately responded to fight the fire with Globe, Flagstaff and Mormon Lake crews arriving later Monday.
Officials ordered an air attack on the blaze, including two helicopters and two air tankers.
A two-engine Forest Service plane is monitoring the blaze while a helicopter is dropping buckets on the blaze.
The remoteness of the fire, about halfway up the Rim, frustrated firefighters struggling to reach it on the ground.
“We are having to hike in,” one firefighter said. “That’s the only way we could get there.”
No evacuations have been ordered and most of the smoke is hovering in a crevice of the rim.
Just northeast of the fire deep in Pine Creek Canyon a girl’s church summer camp is located. No one is believed to be staying at the camp when the fire broke out.
Sieracki and Nunley are asking anyone not fighting the fire to stay completely away from the area to avoid hampering firefighters’ efforts.