(Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.) Fire officials got an aerial view today of the 11,950 Poco Fire northeast of Young, Ariz., and increased its containment to 80 percent.
“Smoke has dissipated from the town of Young, Payson, and the Mogollon Rim communities. We are still seeing smoldering in the center of the deep canyons within the Tonto National Forest,” says Incident Commander Trainee Andy Mandell, Central West Zone Interagency Type 3 Team.
All around the perimeter, the Fort Apache Interagency Hot Shot crew and Prescott National Forest Hot Shots gathered downed trees and limbs, feeding them into chippers to remove fuel. Much of this work takes place adjacent to Forest Road 512 (Young Road) which reopened today. “We are seeing residents traveling the road again and ranchers working cattle, so we’re asking our firefighters and the public to drive with considerable caution,” Mandell emphasizes.
Water tenders and an air craft were released from the fire today; the Central West Zone Interagency Type 3 Team resources remaining on the fire consist of three engine and two hot shot crews, for a total of 100 personnel.
The Poco Fire has not exceeded 11,950 acres. At the height of the human-caused incident, 768 personnel were stationed in Young who traveled from Arizona, California, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, and Wisconsin to protect central Arizona communities. Six community meetings were held within eight days in the towns of Young, Forest Lakes, Colcord, Heber, and Payson and two Fire Camp tours conducted. Five firefighters were injured; no structures were burned; estimated costs are $9 million.
Poco Fire information and photos are posted at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2911. For more information regarding forest recreation sites and fire restrictions, please contact the Tonto National Forest at 602 225-5200, or check online at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.
(Source: Central West Zone Interagency Type 3 Team)