(Posted June 17, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.) The 3,100-acre Poco Fire continues to grow on the Tonto National Forest, six miles northeast of Young. Additional resources arrived yesterday and now 490 fire personnel are on the incident. Today’s primary strategy is to protect the 500 kV electric transmission lines to the east of the fire.
Weather and terrain remain a concern; firefighters are working on steep slopes and in hot conditions. They are on alert today for thunderstorms and possible lightning strikes. If weather conditions permit, the strategy may include initiating a burnout operation to remove fuels to the east around the power lines and secure firelines.
Yesterday, the fire spread west onto Round Mountain and the Naegelin Rim. Aircraft were used in the afternoon to slow fire growth and assist firefighters on the ground.
Resources on the incident include ten hotshot crews, four twenty-person crews, 12 engines, two dozers, six water tenders, and four helicopters. The fire is 15 percent contained.
Residents who live in the community are invited to tour the incident base camp at Young Elementary School today from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Forest Road 512 remains closed as crews “mop up” the fire along the south edge between FR 291 and FR 200 (Chamberlin Trail). In addition, a portion of the ranger district is closed east of FR 200, south of FR 291 and north of FR 512.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is coordinating with the Incident Management Team to monitor smoke impacts in outlying areas. Visibility is an excellent measure of air quality:
If visibility is ten miles or more, the air quality is good.
Visibility of six to nine miles indicates moderate air quality.
Three to five miles of visibility indicates conditions unhealthy for people who have respiratory ailments.
One and a half to two and a half miles, the air quality is unhealthy.
One to one and a quarter miles indicates the air quality is very unhealthy.
If visibility due to smoke is less than a mile, the air quality is hazardous.
Smoke-sensitive persons in affected areas may need to take action such as remaining indoors, using air conditioning, or temporarily moving to an unaffected area.
Poco Fire information is posted at InciWeb.
For more information regarding forest recreation sites and fire restrictions, please contact the Tonto National Forest at 602 225-5200.
(Source: Northern Arizona Incident Management Team)