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"Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

"Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby azbackpackr » May 30 2011 3:35 pm

Lots of activity in Springerville this morning, with the Prescott Hot Shots arriving at Safeway for a snack, and other buses full of firefighters seen on the highway heading for the "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness Area, south of Hannagan. The smoke is not that visible, although my daughter was over at Hulsey yesterday and saw the smoke. I was up at Big Lake early this morning and could see only a haze of smoke south of there, not a big plume. I think winds too strong for it to plume up much. I'm back in Flag now, so I won't get the firsthand news any more.

Oh, and no campfires or charcoal grills allowed in the campgrounds since last night in Apache-Sitgreaves NF (Big Lake, Hannagan, etc.) I think stoves still allowed. Not sure about non-campgrounds.

Here's a news story on the Wallow Fire, but as of this writing it has not made it to inciweb yet. (Maybe tomorrow?)
http://www.kpho.com/news/28072575/detail.html

Perimeter Map http://hikearizona.com/map.php?QX=769
Inciweb http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2262/
Last edited by azbackpackr on Jun 12 2011 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby chumley » May 30 2011 9:34 pm

azbackpackr wrote:Oh, and no campfires or charcoal grills allowed in the campgrounds since last night in Apache-Sitgreaves NF (Big Lake, Hannagan, etc.) I think stoves still allowed. Not sure about non-campgrounds.


There are no published restrictions on the ASNF, either in or out of campgrounds, but the Red Flag Warnings issued yesterday and today might have superseded that, since fires are supposed to be prohibited during red flag conditions. Rarely do people who are camping know that a red flag warning has been issued.
Everybody else likes this. Like it too...
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby cindyl » May 30 2011 9:39 pm

I saw the smoke from that fire as I was coming back from the Gila Wilderness today.
There are just two switchbacks left. And another half-mile to the destination...
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby Nighthiker » May 31 2011 6:47 am

Thanks for the info was thinking of camping that area next week.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby cindyl » May 31 2011 9:03 am

more info on InciWeb now: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2262/

The Reno lookout tower has been evacuated.
There are just two switchbacks left. And another half-mile to the destination...
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby azbackpackr » May 31 2011 10:06 am

I am not in Eagar, but my family member is there, and is very sick with a respiratory virus, and tells me that the smoke is just pouring over the mountains from the south and filling up Round Valley, to where he can't breathe. I called the ranger station and they confirmed that it is smoke from Bear Wallow causing that. Looking at the map on the inciweb site, it appears that the fire must have started down in the canyon, right about where you might camp and build a campfire. It is pretty sad to think of all that old-growth forest burning up. I was backpacking there last summer, and I thought it was pretty thick in there, and long past due for a big fire.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby Jim_H » May 31 2011 2:15 pm

Where in the Gila did you go, Cindy?
It is because the Mount Elden Trail is just such a great trail, and the summit is pretty nice, too.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby cindyl » May 31 2011 2:24 pm

@Jim_H Check out my triplog and photos: http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=15572. I could really see that smoke from the Blue when coming down from Mogollon to Glenwood off of Bursam Road. It's a single-lane winding road, so no photos from there.
There are just two switchbacks left. And another half-mile to the destination...
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby azbackpackr » Jun 01 2011 5:59 am

The map on Inciweb is more detailed now. In studying it, I can see that the second fire is adjacent to Fish Creek, one of my favorite backpacking areas. Fish Creek runs from right behind Hannagan Meadow Lodge, all the way down to the Black River, and has a trail along it the entire distance of 12 miles. Great area. Hope the fire does not become too significant.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby azbackpackr » Jun 01 2011 12:48 pm

To over 6,000 acres now.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby cindyl » Jun 01 2011 1:08 pm

:(
There are just two switchbacks left. And another half-mile to the destination...
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby hikeaz » Jun 01 2011 1:10 pm

I was also in Mogollon/Glenwood/Luna/Alpine this weekend, camped east of 666, just NE of the fire. In spite of the red flag and the super windy conditions, I came across a couple of campfires as I drove around on some of the forest roads at night... geez... folks ain't too bright.....
kurt
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby kingsnake » Jun 01 2011 1:12 pm

hikeaz wrote:I was also in Mogollon/Glenwood/Luna/Alpine this weekend, camped east of 666, just NE of the fire. In spite of the red flag and the super windy conditions, I came across a couple of campfires as I drove around on some of the forest roads at night... geez... folks ain't too bright.....


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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby big_load » Jun 01 2011 1:26 pm

azbackpackr wrote: I can see that the second fire is adjacent to Fish Creek, one of my favorite backpacking areas. Fish Creek runs from right behind Hannagan Meadow Lodge, all the way down to the Black River, and has a trail along it the entire distance of 12 miles. Great area. Hope the fire does not become too significant.
There seemed to be an abundance of fuel with the accumulation of downed trees.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby azbackpackr » Jun 01 2011 6:22 pm

That area is full of deadfall, it's just everywhere.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby azbackpackr » Jun 01 2011 7:01 pm

Well, this turn of events is happening fast. Now 191 (the old 666) is closed between Alpine and Strayhorse, and everyone has been evacuated from Hannagan, Sprucedale, Beaver Creek, etc. There is no access to the Black River. All campgrounds on Black River and East Fork have been evacuated. According to the map, the two fires are merged, and Fish Creek is definitely what I am worried about now. A lot of old growth forest in that area. They're having a community meeting at Round Valley High School this evening.

Keep track of the fire here:
http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2262/
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby big_load » Jun 01 2011 7:11 pm

:(
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby Jim_H » Jun 01 2011 7:24 pm

:) Check out the picks, looks pretty nice. Fairly moderate behavior, and the mixed conifer is being treated with a decent fire that should be beneficial unless duff accumulations are super thick. I wish the Gila had put up some pics of the Miller Fire. I'd like to know how that looked before I can hike back in there. It takes about 2 days to reach McKenna, so pics would be nice even if I was going this summer.

I read a paper once on the economics and feasibility of using fire to thin overly dense ponderosa pine forest (at the Grand Canyon, too, I think). Those pics are pretty much doing exactly that. Aside from the expense of the incident, the fire is treating aces and thinning out some of the trees. The torching looks to be in some of the older trees, but so what, trees die all the time, and sometimes burn. As long as the system is maintained. They all looked to be from the backing area, though. No telling what the head is doing.
It is because the Mount Elden Trail is just such a great trail, and the summit is pretty nice, too.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby azbackpackr » Jun 01 2011 7:45 pm

The photos show the mixed area, but the canyon areas are not shown. The two big canyons of Fish and Bear Wallow have very thick growth, and I would worry that a lot of really big, old trees would burn. Well, we'll see.

I guess they want everyone out of the area because they are doing the backburns near to Sprucedale/Beaver Creek, off 26. Oh, and I saw in the White Mtn. Independent online that Mr. Wiltbank of Sprucedale signed a refusal to leave the area, and was busy trying to gather his horses. He has a lot of horses. If I were him I'd probably have made the same choice. The fire is not all that super close to his place, anyway, and there are several ways to drive out of there.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Postby azbackpackr » Jun 02 2011 12:25 pm

This is insane. Now I am sad, due to burning down Fish Creek Canyon.

From last night to this morning, 6,600 acres to 40,500. From last night to this morning, it shows on the map burning all the way down Fish Creek, and right up behind Hannagan Meadow Lodge, and has crossed the Black River near Bear Creek.

New closures include: ALL of Big Lake area. ALL of Mt. Baldy Wilderness area. However, this may be due to a new fire which I just heard about via the grapevine. This new fire has not yet made it onto Inciweb.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
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