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2017 Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 25 2017 6:39 am
by SkyIslandHiker
Temporary road and trail closure in the Santa Rita Mountains
Full suppression efforts in progress for Sawmill Fire
 
Tucson, AZ (April 24, 2017), For Immediate Release – The Coronado National Forest, Nogales Ranger District, will temporarily close National Forest Service Road (NFSR) 62 at the entrance to Box Canyon, easterly to the junction with NFSR 229, continuing southwesterly to NFSR 165 and on to the Melendrez Pass Communication Site in the Santa Rita Mountains.
 
On the Arizona National Scenic Trail, the closure includes the segment from NFSR 4110 northward to NFSR 4072. Also included are Cave Creek, Sawmill, and Florida Canyon trails.
 
The temporary closure is in place to provide for public safety and to limit traffic while fire suppression activities are underway on the Sawmill Fire. The roads are expected to reopen May 8, 2017, but may open at an earlier date, depending on the success of firefighting efforts.
 
The Sawmill Fire, located10 miles southeast of Green Valley and north of Madera Canyon, is burning on lands under the jurisdiction of the Coronado National Forest and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. Fire size is approximately 7,500 acres. This figure is based on a visual estimate and will likely change.
 
Gusty winds and broken topography have contributed to growth of the fire, burning in tall grass, riparian woodland, mesquite/oak brush, oak woodland, and pinyon-juniper fuel types. Values at risk include homes, ranches and outbuildings, communications facilities, powerlines, and the Arizona National Scenic Trail.
 
The strategy for the incident is full suppression. Resources assigned include five hotshot crews (Aravaipa, Blue Ridge, Globe, Payson, Prescott), four hand crews from the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, 20 fire engines, five air tankers, three helicopters, and miscellaneous overhead.
 
For more information on the road closure, please contact the Nogales Ranger District located at 303 Old Tucson Rd, Nogales, Arizona.  The office can be reached by phone by calling (520) 281-2296. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
 
For more information on the Sawmill Fire, please contact Fire Information Officer John Cambra at (480) 826-7005.
 
On April 25, a Type II Incident Management Team will assume management of the fire. Contact information will be announced through a news release.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 25 2017 7:46 pm
by jonathanpatt
It's burned across the AZT, Highway 83, and is headed across the valley north of Sonoita towards the Whetstones, as of the latest MODIS data. Evacuations to the northeast and southeast.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 25 2017 8:48 pm
by Sredfield
They have a very crude map up on Inciweb. We should introduce them to HAZ mapping capabilities.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 25 2017 8:50 pm
by SkyIslandHiker
As of 8:33pm this evening Inciweb is reporting that 20,000 acres have burned and only 7% containment. The fire looks like it's heading for Apache Peak in the Whetstones :(

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 25 2017 9:21 pm
by jonathanpatt
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mi ... 11328&z=10 is a better map, based on MODIS data and other sources. The photographed map on Inciweb is out of date.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 25 2017 9:38 pm
by SkyIslandHiker
Based upon the above map, the fire is taking a turn to the NE away from Apache Peak.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 11:11 am
by SkyIslandHiker
According to the Green Valley News a target shooter sparked the Sawmill Fire. The shooter was firing at exploding targets when the fire started. He tried to put out the blaze, then reported it and later turned himself in.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 11:39 am
by flagscott
SkyIslandHiker wrote:According to the Green Valley News a target shooter sparked the Sawmill Fire. The shooter was firing at exploding targets when the fire started. He tried to put out the blaze, then reported it and later turned himself in.
I can't believe that exploding targets are even legal--a number of other states have banned them. Way to go Arizona legislators (I guess any ban on blowing stuff up would be too much "big government").

I'm not sure who's the stupidest party here: the legislature for allowing these things and for allowing shooting pretty much everywhere (this isn't the first big fire started by "target" shooters) or the shooter for blowing stuff up in a dry area.

I hope he gets a long jail sentence, but he'll probably end up with a slap on the wrist.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 6:04 pm
by Pivo
@flagscott
Exploding targets are banned on all National Forest Service land in both Arizona and New Mexico, according to Carrie Templin, Tonto National Forest spokeswoman.
I do believe the the area when the fire started was CNF Land.
Poor decision making by the shooter.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 6:22 pm
by Sredfield
Inciweb, or whoever is supposed to be updating it for this fire, is woefully behind. Still the same quick and dirty map from yesterday.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 6:24 pm
by trekkin_gecko
the map jonathanpatt posted above is a good one

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 6:27 pm
by Sredfield
Turning himself in was when he started thinking. He'll get a slap on the wrist. And what's the point, the gazillions spent on fires are beyond the pockets of ordinary people. Now if the law would allow recovery from the outfit that made the targets, or the ammunition, or the gun manufacturer, then there would be some responsibility injected into the morass.

Let it begin . . . or if that's too political someone can delete the post.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 8:04 pm
by flagscott
Pivo wrote:@flagscott
Exploding targets are banned on all National Forest Service land in both Arizona and New Mexico, according to Carrie Templin, Tonto National Forest spokeswoman.
I do believe the the area when the fire started was CNF Land.
Poor decision making by the shooter.
Yeah, but why are those exploding targets even legal to start? I'd bet dollars to donuts that the vast majority of them get used on public lands. And @sredfield is right--the penalties for starting a fire through gross negligence (like illegal shooting) should be high enough to make people think twice. Right now there's hardly any incentive to do the right thing.

The legislature gets some blame here, too, for not making the targets illegal and not making the penalties for starting a fire onerous enough to make people cognizant of fire risk every time they head outdoors.

(Mods--if this is too political or off topic, feel free to move it to a new thread in politics.)

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 8:47 pm
by Pivo
@flagscott
I am not arguing against your position; I am posting facts. The dollars to donuts quote is speculative (as posted without support).
I am in agreement, penalties to those causing a fire through gross negligence should hold high consequences.

You can't hold lawmakers accountable for not making stoopid deeds illegal. Stoopid Folks will do, what they do. That has been and will be proven daily.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 8:50 pm
by joebartels
A moderator is welcome to split the topic.

As with the entire site, if response to other members is honestly courteous it'll probably be fine.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 9:06 pm
by Tough_Boots
Pivo wrote:You can't hold lawmakers accountable for not making stoopid deeds illegal. Stoopid Folks will do, what they do. That has been and will be proven daily.
Yes you can. Laws are made to protect people, property, and investments from the stupid and ill-intended deeds of others. Its fundamentally what a lawmaker's job is.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 9:51 pm
by Pivo
@Tough_Boots
Fundamentally, it returns to common sense and accountability from the individual, Is it possible for government to legislate "protection" from every ill and misdeed from the mass?

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 10:20 pm
by SkyIslandHiker
The updated stats on Inciweb, as of 9:11pm, indicate that the fire doubled in size today and has now consumed over 40,000 acres. However, there was some progress on containment which is now at 20%.
https://inciweb.nwcg.g...
Unfortunately a red flag warning has been issued for Thursday afternoon.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 10:34 pm
by Tough_Boots
@Pivo
I don't disagree with you. My point is that people are to be held accountable for the quality at which they perform their job. If your job is being a lawmaker then you should be held accountable for the existence, quality, or the nonexistence of laws. We are both talking about individual accountability.

Re: Sawmill Fire closes AZT and some Santa Rita Trails

Posted: Apr 26 2017 11:14 pm
by AZHiker456
Sredfield wrote:Inciweb, or whoever is supposed to be updating it for this fire, is woefully behind. Still the same quick and dirty map from yesterday.
Tell me about it! The three best sources of "news" (in no particular order) have been:

a) Looking out my windows / stepping out my front door
b) Updates / texts from friends who live in the areas that are impacted
c) Daily trips to my local post office (Sonoita, AZ)

It is such a sad scene down here right now in Southeast AZ. If someone had no knowledge of the fire and were to drive by the Sonoita Fairgrounds, they'd probably think a massive circus / event was going on.

The winds down here typically blow strongest from the South & West; but for almost all of yesterday, the West winds predominated, and it was horrible to watch as the smoke raced toward the Whetstones. The foothills are horribly charred but as of right now, based on what I can see & from what some of the locals have said, the peaks/main part of the range have been spared. Most of the smoke in the SW part of the range has cleared [relative to how it was yesterday], and it's comforting to see that the mountainous parts look normal. The fire is far from over though and with strong winds in the forecast for the next several days, there's no telling what might happen.
flagscott wrote:I can't believe that exploding targets are even legal--a number of other states have banned them. Way to go Arizona legislators (I guess any ban on blowing stuff up would be too much "big government").

I'm not sure who's the stupidest party here: the legislature for allowing these things and for allowing shooting pretty much everywhere (this isn't the first big fire started by "target" shooters) or the shooter for blowing stuff up in a dry area.
I wholeheartedly agree! I own a gun and carry it every time I go for a hike or even just a walk... but it is strictly for self-defense purposes... when I read in one of the articles that an 'explosive target', [which I had never even heard of before], is purely for entertainment purposes (or as this http://www.gvnews.com/news/sources-targ ... ed40b.html article states, "strictly something to have fun with") it blew my mind as to how such a thing could be legal here / in areas like this where the fire danger is so high. This article also states:
Doug MacKinlay, owner of Diamondback Shooting Sports in Tucson, spoke with exploding target manufacturers and watched several YouTube videos online before deciding he won’t carry exploding targets.

...ENOUGH SAID [or so I would think... apparently legislators think differently].
flagscott wrote:I hope he gets a long jail sentence, but he'll probably end up with a slap on the wrist.
I would HATE to be one of the ones involved in deciding his punishment... in the midst of such horrible destruction [that is far from over], my instant reaction would be 'life imprisonment'... or better yet, life of service working to repair the damages. There are a lot of facts we still don't know though [which I'm not even sure can be determined]... like a big question I have is: was he at least making an attempt to be responsible while shooting or did he do something EXTRA stupid... i.e. was he one of those individuals?) -
“Exploding targets are fun if used properly, but you’re always going to get that one individual who’s going to say, ‘Wow, that’s what a quarter-pound does, let’s see what five pounds does or 10 pounds or 20 pounds will do.” http://www.gvnews.com/news/sources-targ ... ed40b.html