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The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 21 2014 3:11 pm
by outdoor_lover
Ok, here's a New One...But you won't find anything about it on any Websites including Inciweb and Coconino FS...I found out about it on another Site, (not to be named on here) when someone Commented on one of my Photos...Apparently, they had gone up to WCC to do Bear and Sundance Canyons last Friday and found the Roads Closed due to a "managed" Lightning Fire...Apparently there was more than one Fire, but they kind of Merged and so they are considering it One Incident, called the Pothole Fire....

This was not a "Rumor" as it came from someone who was physically there and witnessed it, but since it was Second-Hand Information, I pulled a "chumley" and called the Mogollon Ranger District for Coconino NF and confirmed...The Gal (who btw, is a HAZER, thanks Amelia!) was even nice enough to send me a Map.... :) Even though the Fire is on the South Rim of WCC, the Closure is pretty wide because apparently Smoke has become a Big Issue and is filling up the Canyon...Because of the Smoke Issue, the Crews are accelerating the Fire behavior in an attempt to accomplish what they were trying to achieve and hope to be at a Conclusion within a Week from now....Since this is not Posted anywhere where you can check it's "Status", it is recommended that you call the Ranger District beforehand, before heading up there....

Coconino National Forest - Mogollon Rim Ranger District 928-477-2255

Our Canyon Crew ran into something very similar to this Last Year, about this same time, so apparently it is very common for the FS to use Mother Nature to their advantage and basically "let it burn" for awhile in this area....

FR's 142E and 142F are currently Closed for sure among others, which directly impacts Point Trail, Bear, Sundance and Shamrock Canyons....Here is the Maps showing the Complete Closure Area....
Pothole Fire Closure Area.pdf
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Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 21 2014 6:06 pm
by toddak
Closures are a pain, but I'm glad to see that they seem to be managing this area carefully. A few years back I was hiking out after a couple days in the canyon and saw this huge smoke plume as I neared the rim, and I feared my car was in danger of being torched in a wildfire. But it was a controlled burn, much smaller and further away than it looked. So props to the land managers - an uncontrolled fire anywhere in WCC Wilderness would be a major bummer!

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 21 2014 6:17 pm
by kingsnake
Is that the one caused by the plane crash?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... izona.html

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 21 2014 6:31 pm
by mazatzal
No this one started last Thursday or earlier. It's included in Kyle's post on the "2014 Fire Season" page.

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 21 2014 9:16 pm
by outdoor_lover
@kingsnake@mazatzal
Actually, the one that Kyle was talking about is the General Fire, which is located near the Cabin Loop on the other side of Payson...I'll bet that Ken, Mike and I saw the start of the Pothole Fire on July 12 when we came out of WCC after doing Avocado Canyon....The Canyon was really filling up with Smoke on our Ascent out.... http://hikearizona.com/trip=105673

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 21 2014 10:42 pm
by Tough_Boots
@Outdoor Lover

My original post included info on the Willard Fire, Bar M Fire, Pothole Fire, and the General Fire. I have to help make up for Chumley's limited presence until he's back in the country. He's only able to check HAZ twenty times a day right now :D

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 22 2014 1:18 am
by chumley
@Tough_Boots
Thank you for covering for me. I really like these middle-of-the-night posts now. Plus I get to read all the spam from Thailand before it gets deleted. :)

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 22 2014 10:51 am
by ALMAL
That sucks! My 2013 August trip was thwarted by the Egypt fire there. Ugh... Calloway and the Gardens will likely be that much more crowded now...

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 22 2014 5:57 pm
by Grasshopper
7/22/14 update through Blue Ridge Ranger Station:

"Pot Hole Fire:

Size – 2200 acres
Smoke – Smoke should lessen over the next few days, and moisture is predicted to return the middle of this week and into the weekend. The fire still has the potential to grow because of the steep and rugged terrain of the West Clear Creek Wilderness.
Fire Behavior – 1-2 foot flame heights, and is moving across the forest floor. There had been some isolated torching, which is natural and expected. Fire burned within the perimeters that crews stabilized over the last several days.
Closures – Forest Road 142F and 142E, as well as the Tramway, and Maxwell Trails leading into West Clear Creek Wilderness are temporarily closed for public safety.
Remarks - Crews will continue to patrol and work on any hazards so the area can be opened back up for public use.

Fire managers are very pleased with the effects of both (also The General) fires, primarily burning a lot of dry debris on the forest floor. They are also pleased with how quickly the burning progressed once things dried out. This was a low-severity fire leaving less fuel that could contribute to severe fire behavior and safer conditions for the public and firefighters."
Pot Hole Fire Map at 07.22.2014.pdf
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Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 22 2014 11:39 pm
by outdoor_lover
Tough_Boots wrote:My original post included info on the Willard Fire, Bar M Fire, Pothole Fire, and the General Fire.
This was pointed out to me after I posted.... :lol: For some reason I wasn't associating it with WCC.... :doh:
ALMAL wrote:My 2013 August trip was thwarted by the Egypt fire there.
I remember...We were the ones that told you about it since we had gone up there expecting to do a Canyon (after not paying attention to the Posts from a couple of days before) and it was all closed...It was such a Big Closure that there were no other options really and we ended up doing CC Gorge on the other side of Payson instead...We got a lot of Driving in that day.... :sweat:

Hopefully the Closures will be lifted within the next couple of Weeks...I still have Plans in there.... ;)

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 23 2014 9:09 am
by Grasshopper
7/23 update through Blue Ridge Ranger Station:

"POT HOLE – Crews will continue to stabilize the perimeter lines of the fire. There was not much activity on the fire yesterday or last night, and the Pot Hole fire is not producing much smoke at all, much less than the General fire. Plans for today are to continue snagging, and mopping up."

Re: The Pothole Fire - Closures at West Clear Creek

Posted: Jul 28 2014 11:09 am
by chumley
The General, Pot Hole and Island fires received quite a bit of rain, fire activity is VERY low. Closures for the Pot Hole have been lifted, Tramway and Maxwell trails.
-Blue Ridge Ranger Station