Wildfires Burn 700 Acres


A Heber-Overgaard fire crew comes marching onto the scene just in time as another fire line is established at the Bachelor Fire in Colcord Canyon, near Young.

A Heber-Overgaard fire crew comes marching onto the scene just in time as another fire line is established at the Bachelor Fire in Colcord Canyon, near Young. |

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Three human-caused fires that have burned more than 700 acres in the Rim Country continued to burn Thursday as fire crews worked to reinforce containment lines and expel smaller fires.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest fire officials say the fires are under control, pose no threat to homes, and should be fully contained by Saturday.

The biggest blaze, the Bachelor Fire, located south of Highway 260 near Young Road, grew in size Thursday as fire crews created additional fire lines. Crews also reinforced existing containment lines on the east portion of the fire adjacent to Young Road (Forest Road 512).

“Today, the burnouts started early, but had to be curtailed later in the day as humidities dropped and wind speed increased,” said Bob Dyson, with the Forest Service.

“Such conditions can lead to unacceptably hot burning scenarios. Firefighters have concentrated on the south or downhill portion of the fire as the other portions of the fire have been lined and burned out already.”

Since Tuesday, the fire has burned about a third of a mile down the steep slope of the Mogollon Rim into Colcord Canyon and will likely continue its descent over the next several days, Dyson said in a press release.

The Bachelor Fire also continues to move closer to homes in the Colcord Estates and Ponderosa Springs subdivisions, but none are in danger.

Windy conditions have made it difficult for fire crews to keep the fire, which started Saturday, contained as embers blew over the line numerous times.

The fire was roughly 60 percent contained as of Thursday night.

Forest Road 9512E, which leads to a number of popular camping sites along the Rim, is closed.

The next largest blaze, the Camp Knoll Fire, located about three miles south of Heber in the Rodeo/Chediski Fire area, has not grown in size since the weekend and is estimated at 60 acres.

On Thursday, firefighters continued mopping up fuels close to the fire line.

The smallest fire, the Palomino, started over the weekend about three miles northeast of Woods Canyon Lake. It also has not grown in size recently and is almost fully contained to 33 acres.

The Forest Service reminds visitors to thoroughly extinguish all campfires, pack out all trash and never use fireworks.

At this time, the Forest Service does not suspect arson. The fires are still under investigation, but human carelessness is the likely cause, Dyson said.

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