Crews Fighting New Fire Near Heber

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Bear Canyon Lake closure map

With the Willow Fire on the Mogollon Rim snuffed, crews took on a new blaze Thursday afternoon, this time eight miles northeast of Heber-Overgaard.

The Wash Fire has spread to a 1,000 acres in less than 24 hours, burning through power lines and cutting power of to some Heber-Overgaard residents.

A 100 personnel are on scene.

The Arizona Department of Transportation closed State Route 377 between the junction of State Route 277 and State Route 77 near Holbrook and State Route 277 is partially closed between Heber and Snowflake.

On the Mogollon Rim, the area around Bear Canyon Lake remains closed, including trails, roads and campgrounds.

The Willow Fire started Sunday afternoon near Willow Creek, adjacent to the Bear Canyon Lake, and spread northeast through a forest of mixed conifer, said Eric Neitzel with the U.S. Forest Service.

The human-caused blaze is still under investigation and to date has cost nearly a million dollars.

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Willow Fire map

Resources on the Willow Fire at one time included 315 workers, four dozers, nine engines and five aircraft. A Type II incident management team took over suppression efforts at 6 p.m. Monday.

Currently, the junctions of Forest Roads 34 and 300, 75 and 100 and 89 and 300 are closed.

Visit www.fs.usda.gov/asnf for updates on the fire.

Five active wildfires continue to burn in Arizona currently, including the Wallow Fire, which is now 67 percent contained.

On Saturday, 20 fires started across the state, but firefighters stamped out most quickly.

The Arizona State Forestry Division mobilized the Arizona All Hazard Incident Management Team to facilitate “initial attacks” on new fires. The team handled the initial response for four of Saturday’s fires.

“The team and its task forces were a great help and really made a difference on our fire,” said Dan Bunce, Scottsdale Fire Department’s incident commander on Saturday’s Cave Creek Fire. 

The task force’s firefighting crew assisted Scottsdale, Rural Metro and Rio Verde fire departments Saturday.

“What we’re doing is unprecedented in Arizona; we’re breaking new ground. Managing initial attack is our highest priority to stop fires before they get big,” said Tom Bonomo, incident commander.

To date, a record approximately 1.4 million acres have burned across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona with 733,064 acres in Arizona.

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