The Gazeebo

A Poet's Place

Wallow Fire: Day 11, part 2

Alright, so for this post, you’ll be getting news from 4 different news sites, including Channel 3 (AZ Family), Channel 15 (ABC), Channel 5, (KPHO), and Channel 12 (AZ Central).  You’ll also be seeing news mixed in from AZ Central’s Blog.

So down to the actual update on the fire – according to AZ Central’s Blog, it has now burned “about 389,000 acres” and is at zero percent containment, “making it the No. 1 firefighting priority in the nation.”  ABC put the size into perspective; at about “486 square miles of ponderosa pine forest,” it is “more than twice the size of Chicago.”  AZ Central also stated that it’s like “Phoenix, Glendale, and Cave Creek all put together.”  To add on to the size, ABC stated that “winds gusts of more than 60mph” is helping it move more as each day passes; the low humidity not helping at all either.

In preparation for the fire, about 2,000 residents from Eagar “were forced to leave Tuesday afternoon.”  An ominous picture that ABC described of the scene was that “ash rained from the sky, filled with thick smoke, and when the sun peeked through, it was blood-red.”  That is not something anyone wants to see when they’re leaving their homes, but here’s hopes that it doesn’t reach the actual town.

One of the way the firefighting teams are trying to fight this immense fire, is by pre-burning areas in some close distance to the towns so that when the Wallow Fire gets there, than it won’t have anywhere to go, due to no fuel to actually burn.  Luckily, no firefighters have been injured thus far so that’s one extremely positive part to this entire story.   Also, according to AZ Central, firefighters are coming in from all over the country, the guy that was interviewed being from Oregon and having just recently seen people from Minnesota, and even as far east as Pennsylvania.  AZ Family stated that “20 more crews – nearly 300 people” are heading to the area to help out with the fire.  “Firefighters can only work for so long before they need to rest,” their breaks being “every 14 days,” thus giving a huge reason to get these crews out there.  In Glendale, firefighters usually have a schedule of working 24 hours straight and then having 48 hours off, other places around the country having 48 on, 96 off; however, in cases like these, these men and women are out there trying to combat this fire with “shifts around the clock.”  The firefighters that will be coming in will, “not only rotate in to replace some of the firefighters who have been on the lines of the Wallow Fire, they will also gear up for the ‘next event,'” whatever that may be.  They are always trying to think strategically to avoid any further damages, while still fighting to take control over it.  For example, “Phoenix Fire Department sent four engines and 17 firefighters to Eastern Arizona,” which “have been assigned to structure protection.”

According to another article on AZ Family, several “slurry bombers…are based out at Winslow Airport, about 100 miles Northwest of the fire.”  These tankers each carry about “2,500 gallons of slurry per load, “which is a kind of fire retardant,” made up of “a mixture of water, fertilizer and a thickening agent.”  According to the site, the way it works for protection is by “stick[ing] to vegetation, insulating it from the fire,” while at the same time, “the fertilizer is a starting point [for] new vegetation to grow [within the] burned areas.”  If you’ve ever wondered about the red coloring of it like I have, that is a sort of signal when it lands ahead of the fire for “bulldozers [to] move in to cut a fire break.”  Another interesting point to the slurry is that it “doesn’t evaporate” like the water drops do.  Also, this is where the thickening agent comes in because it helps the entire “slurry from dissipating in the air.”  Another fact to this entire thing is that these tankers, and their respective pilots, “are at the mercy of Mother Nature,” which stops too many from going up in the air due to the high winds in the area, along with “low visibility due to smoke and haze” from the fire.

For anyone who’s interested in seeing some pictures of the fire, KPHO offers a slide show (see link at top).


June 8, 2011 - Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] the fire.  It is a “DC-10 supertanker aircraft, which can drop up to four times as much [slurry] as the smaller planes,” according to KPHO.  Firefighters are expecting to get an even […]

    Pingback by Wallow Fire: Day 12 « The Gazeebo | June 9, 2011 | Reply

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