Firefighters are setting backfires to combat the 12,000-acre Poco Fire near Young. Fire officials assured residents of Heber-Overgaard (below) that the blaze is more than 20 miles away from their community.
YOUNG, Az. – The Central West Zone Interagency Type 3 Team resources have completed rehabilitation tasks on the Poco Fire, northeast of Young, Arizona, including grading Forest Road 512 that connects travelers from the Payson area off of State Route 260 south to Young. Barring no new fire starts, FR 512 (Young Rd.) opens at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday.
“We have several fire engines and heavy equipment on scene, so we’re asking the public to drive slowly and carefully. Under no circumstances should travelers stop on the 512 to look at or walk into the fire zone,” urges Incident Commander Trainee Andy Mandell.
According to Mandell, the Poco Fire is contained at 75 percent. The Central West Zone Interagency Type 3 Team resources consists of four engines, two hot shot crews, air support, water tenders, and a dozer, for a total of 110 personnel.
If thunderstorms pass without lightning strikes or new fire starts, the Type 3 team will begin releasing a few firefighters on Wednesday, June 27, as containment of the Poco Fire increases. “Several firefighters will remain stationed at the Tonto National Forest, Pleasant Valley Ranger District, during this extreme fire danger period,” Mandell explains.
The Poco Fire has not exceeded 11,950 acres. At the height of the human-caused incident, 768 personnel were stationed in Young who traveled from Arizona, California, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, and Wisconsin to protect central Arizona communities. Six community meetings were held within eight days in the towns of Young, Forest Lakes, Colcord, Heber, and Payson and two Fire Camp tours conducted. Five firefighters were injured; no structures were burned; estimated costs are $9 million.
Poco Fire information is posted at www.inciweb.org/incident/2911. For more information regarding forest recreation sites and fire restrictions, please contact the Tonto National Forest at 602 225-5200, or check online at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.