Crews set back burns for miles along State Route 188 Thursday night to keep the Bush Fire from reaching Jakes Corner or jumping the roadway and heading north towards Gisela.

The fire has so far not damaged any homes or crossed 188 to the north. It was at more than 151,000 acres Friday and 7% containment.

Fire officials expect hot, windy and extreme fire conditions Friday, similar to what they have seen all week. Afternoon winds, which typically pick up around 2 p.m., are driving the fire further northeast every day.

Dee Hines, a public information officer with the Bush Fire team, said they expect to see large columns of smoke from the north end of the fire Friday, where the fire is most active.

Bush Fire

Screenshot of the fire taken Friday morning. 

Overnight Thursday, firefighters set back burns on the south side of 188 from Punkin Center to the State Route 188 and Beeline Highway intersection.

“They start the burns at the edge of the pavement,” he said. “Once they light it, it continues to creep.”

Bush Fire

The red line was the perimeter of the Bush Fire detected by a mapping flight at 11:18 p.m. MDT June 18. The yellow line was the perimeter detected by a mapping flight at 11:49 p.m. MDT June 17. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:24 a.m. MDT June 19.

On Wednesday night, crews set similar back burns along 188 between Forest Road 143 and Tonto Basin.

Bush Fire

Crews Thursday used a drone to conduct aerial ignitions around the Mt. Ord communication site to help protect values at risk as the fire moved through the area.

The fire has burned over the mountain and is expected to head northeast into areas of thick vegetation. 

Bush Fire

This photo was taken Wednesday afternoon, hours before crews set back burns in the area. 

Bush Fire

Central Arizona Fire and Medical posted this photo on their Facebook page Wednesday night after crews set back burns. 

“What I am stressing this morning is that we are going to see similar conditions to what we saw yesterday, maybe a little hotter,” Hines said. “We still have a very active fire.”

At 6 a.m. Friday, a Type I incident management team took over, brining with it additional resources and experience.

Total personnel on the fire Friday was 855 up from 609 Thursday.

Brownsville, Jake's Corner, Slate Creek, Pioneer Pass, Tonto Basin, Punkin Center, Sunflower, and residents and visitors to Apache Lake remain under “Go” evacuation notices. Gisela, Rye, Deer Creek 76 Ranch and Bar T Bar Ranch (AKA BT Ranch) are in “Set” status. All residents in the area are encouraged to be prepared and stay alert to rapidly changing conditions.

American Red Cross Evacuation Centers are located at the Payson Senior Center, 514 W. Main St., Payson, AZ 85541 and the Lee Kornegay Intermediate School, 4635 Railroad Ave, Miami, AZ 85539.

For more information, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6773/.

An online Bush Fire community meeting will be held June 19 at 6 p.m. on Fb.com/bushfireinfo.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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