A view of the fire south-east of Arcosanti on Tuesday night, June 28. 2005.
According to WILDFIRE NEWS: The Cave Creek fire started northeast of Carefree, Arizona. The fire, burning in chaparral, oak, and grass, is threatening a major power grid, riparian areas, endangered species habitat, and archaeological resources. Steep slopes, extreme fire behavior, flashy fuels, and poor access are proving difficult. About 250 homes have been evacuated.
Firefighters today are expecting flamelengths up to 30 feet, with plume-dominated fire behavior. The south side of the fire is secure, but crews have been spiked out northwest of the fire to allow for better access. Yesterday the fire crossed into the Red Creek drainage and burned into the Upper Ranch area. This morning it was 25 percent contained at 124,033 acres. Four injuries have been reported, and 11 homes were destroyed. The fire’s threatening the LX Bar Ranch, the Tangle Creek administrative site, the Red Cross Ranch and Upper Ranch, and the Copper Creek administrative site. Whitney’s team reports that the fire’s been following the path of the Pinnacle Peak 345 KV powerline, which is a critical element of the power grid and provides power from Glen Canyon to Phoenix.
The Western Area Power Administration and the IMT may decide to de-energize the powerline to ensure the safety of firefighters working under it. This is not expected to disrupt service to the Phoenix area. Fire activity intensified significantly Sunday afternoon, with extreme fire behavior, and the fire burned across the Bloody Basin Road — the last reasonable control feature before the Pine Mountain Wilderness.
The East Valley Tribune reported that the second team was ordered because of concerns that the fire could threaten Rim Country communities including Dugas, Pine, and Strawberry; ash has been falling around both Pine and Strawberry. The Pine-Strawberry Fire Department hasn’t yet decided on evacuation plans. The fire’s expected to reach the Mogollon or Verde Rim in about three days. Back-country roads on the Prescott and Coconino national forests have been closed, a voluntary evacuation was put in place for the Childs Recreation Area along the Verde River, and the Coconino has closed access to Fossil Creek, Irving, and Childs.
More than 800 people are working on the fire. Resources include more than two dozen hotshot crews and nine Type 2 crews, 28 engines, four dozers, and a dozen helicopters — four lights, four mediums, and four heavies. The world’s largest saguaro, a 46-foot cactus near Horseshoe Lake, was scorched by the fire and is not expected to survive.
[Photo: Jeff Kunzelman & text: sa, quotes from on-line Wildfire News]