First wildfire in 2019 Pine Strawberry

The first wildfire in Rim Country for the 2019 season happened in Pine Thursday when unpredicted winds stirred a permitted burn.

Unpredicted wind gusts blew a permitted brush burn into the forest around Pine Thursday.

Payson Forest Service wildland fire crews responded and contained the blaze to a third of an acre.

“This is the first wildland fire for the season for us,” said Chief Gary Morris from the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department.

When the fire department received a request for the burn permit, staff checked the weather and the location. Everything seemed fine so the department issued the permit, he said. Unpredicted wind gusts caused the fire to spread.

“When the wind comes up it changes everything,” said Morris. “These fires do produce firebrands and embers that can light brush on fire.”

The property backed up to the forest.

It is always a good idea to have a means to extinguish a fire nearby when starting a permitted fire, he said.

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