Big Canyon Fire Holding At 110 Acres

Chad Stluka, with Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department, helps back up Hellsgate’s water tender earlier this week as it delivers water to a helio dip site.

Chad Stluka, with Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department, helps back up Hellsgate’s water tender earlier this week as it delivers water to a helio dip site.

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Suppression efforts on the Big Canyon Fire this week have gone so well officials sent some Hotshot crews and resources back. They even downgraded the fire from 170 acres to 110 due to better mapping.

Gary Roberts, with the Forest Service, said the fire has stabilized and is 50 percent contained.

He said crews planned to “button up” the fire Thursday and hand over the incident to a type IV management team Friday. The cost to fight the fire in nearing $600,000.

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Photos courtesy of Ron Jarvis

Crews relied on helicopters to drop fire retardant to keep the Big Canyon Fire from spreading.

The lightning-caused fire is burning two miles west of the Tonto Fish Hatchery in the Big Canyon area near the Highline Trail, approximately 14 miles east of Payson.

Although the rough terrain has made fighting the fire difficult, as well as the remote location only accessible by air or foot, crews have made great progress, he said.

The southern end of the fire is nearly out and another crew has made good progress on the northeast end.

“Things are looking really good,” he said.

A number of resources have already been sent home, but roughly 85 fire personnel, two helicopters and one airplane remain on scene.

Suppression objectives include closing in the fire north of the Highline Trail, west of Tonto Creek and east of Ellison Creek.

On Friday, two Hotshot crews were released back to Southern California.

“Fire activity was low yesterday,” said Incident Commander Dave Ramirez. “We continue to make good progress despite the challenging terrain.”

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