Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wallow Fire...Along the Path..

10% containment.. 443,989..Round Valley Returns Home~
6pm.. Sunday June12th________________

Saturday, June 11th 2011

I am awake. It's 9:00 am. Looking outside, I'm noticing it's a little breezy. Windy
condition's are expected today. I will be looking to see what the updates are. Total acreage
last evening was at 408,886 based on the latest infra red data....

After posting yesterday, I decided to take Grace and Charlotte to the Superstition
Springs Mall. We go to a mall once or twice a year.  Living in our little mountain
community places us between 175 to 220 miles from the nearest mall. So it's a real
treat when we walk through the doors. The sights and sounds. They were looking
forward to it.

I was thrilled to find a Borders book store. One of my favorite things..Books...
With all of the internet shopping I do, and our location, I don't have the
opportunity to enjoy looking at and even smelling the books. I love the
smell of new books.

 I must admit, it was a little overwhelming yesterday, though. I couldn't concentrate;
 I found myself thinking of the firefighters and how hard they were
working to get things under control. How hot it was and the exhaustion that must be
beginning to creep in. I felt badly about being out and having a good time.

We did enjoy our time together. Charlotte was able to eat at Chic-fil-a....  her
favorite fast food stop. Petland was fun..We saw the cutest "Hatchi" pup. Like the one
in the movie. I don't remember the name of the dog. They're bred in Japan, I believe.

I am thankful to have had a day off from working on the blog. Though it has
very helpful for the processing of this tragedy, it can weigh heavy at times. But through
the blogging, I have been able to not make a record for our family. There have been hours
spent on these postings. But the investment will be well worth it.

It has also helps keep us all connected. Grace, Charlotte and I are in Phoenix. Jeff is is St
Johns and Mikailah is in California; she went with David and Hannah. He is teaching her
how to surf. It has been a point where we can keep kind of connected as we share news and
updates about the fire.


Channel 3 news. Views of the fire area as well as interview with the DC-10 pilot.

The DC-10 did not run on Friday. It wasn't needed for the plan that was in place
for the day. It made two drops on Saturday in the Greer area. Utilizing the aircraft
costs $12,000 per hour not including the cost of the slurry. It holds 12,000 gallons
of retardent.



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                Briefing meeting. June 11, 2011 10:00 am. This video gives a lot of details of the
exact work that's being done. It explains why and where.

The lines are holding. The crews have been working to achieve a black area of 300 ft
and that hasn accomplished in many areas. This means that there is an area 300 feet
deep between the main fire and the area being protected. This helps prevent spot fires from

We read that the fire has grown to 430,171 acresa and back to 5% containment as of 11:00
am Saturday morning. This is an area larger than the city of Phoenix.

It is Saturday and there is not much news available. It was very encouraging to find out
that the animals were not as at risk as rumors had implied. The pattern of the burn has
been patchy (mosaic) and there are many areas that been untouched; the wildlife are taking
refuge in these areas.

However, looking ahead to monsoon season, there is a concern that has been mentioned.
It is that of the ash coverage on the ground. As the run off drains into ponds, lakes and streams,
the PH balance will be disturbed and this could be hazardous to the fish and water life.

People are also concerned with flooding in the area. Jocelyn Peters, a local State Farm
agent has explained that those without homeowners flood insurance can check with their
policy holders. There is a 30 day delay from the time of purchase.

There was a Red Flag warning today from 1-8 PM.

And this is for Sunday June 12, 2011.
Red flag warning in effect from 11 am to 8 PM MST Sunday for

strong winds and low relative humidities...

The National Weather Service in Flagstaff has issued a red flag

warning... which is in effect from 11 am to 8 PM MST Sunday due to

strong winds and low relative humidities.

* Affected area: eastern Mogollon Rim... White Mountains...

* Timing: critical fire weather conditions are expected from 11 am
until 8 PM MST Sunday

* 20-foot winds: southwest winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.

* Relative humidities: afternoon minimum relative humidities will
range from 5 to 10 percent


The air quality in RV as of friday was very poor.  It's unlikely that it improved today.
There are serious concerns about the partical content in the air.

Here is some information that came to me by e-mail on Friday.

Air quality in RV - "astronomical" readings 900-1200; "very hazardous" hope will
level off in 2-3 days.

30 mg/cubic meter is normal; "PM2.5"= finely granulated particles that can embed in your
lung system.

There are masks available at the Red Cross.


The following information is from an update on Saturday evening.

In the area of Greer, there are still places that are untouched by the fire. Sadly
the loss of homes, other structures and a vehicle. It is a relief to know that many homes
and the historical buildings are still standing.

Tall, green trees still remain standing strong and Greer as a whole is living on in the face
of the fire. Although it is changed, it is not lost.

This sign hangs on the bridge in Greer just as you enter town.

The Rendezvous Cafe.. Our family has eaten here.
It's the quaintest little place.
It's still there.

Sikorsky Helicopter..Greer

DC-10 drops slurry near Greer..June 11th

As of Sunday evening, Greer lines are holding. The progress is good.
However, there are still many
hazards.  Officials say it will be another 5 days before the area is safe.


Mopping up in Greer

There has been a lot of talk about mopping up recently. This is part of the process of
achieving containment. Here's a bit of a highlight on the subject.

Jeff used to work for the Forest Service nearly thirty years ago. He was stationed at the
Strayhorse Forest Service site. This remote little area is about 20 miles south of 
Hannagan Meadow. As a member of a fire crew, he used to tramp through some of
the same mountainous terrain as the crews today. It was after this job that he decided
that he wanted to live in these mountains.

I asked him to help me define "mop up". This is how he described it. After a fire has gone
through, the crews go in and start turning over soil with a shovel or other tools. There's a stirring
of the forest floor to dig up any hot spots or find embers or even a spark.

He said it's a long and tedious process. (I am wondering with the new technology if there
are other methods used today for detecting heat.) The goal is to be sure that everything is

He remembers practically crawling around on his hands and knees and sifting through
the debris with his fingers. Smoldering logs are moved and tree stumps are dug up if
possible. Anything with any heat in it is sprayed or smothered with dirt.

So far, the concentrated mop up areas have been Nutrioso and Escudilla.
Nutrioso is looking very good. However, there is a continued threat of flying embers
so crews must remain watchful.
The containment areas are on the northeast side of the fire.


6:30 pm.

I just read an update and the new number of acres burned is 443,989. Fire personnel totals
4,311.This includes 24 hotshot crews and 84 hand crews.

- Resources include 15 Helicopters, 5 Air Tankers available; 334 Engines; 66 Water
Tenders; 27 Dozers

Map posted June 11~Not a very good's all I could find today.

The following information was posted on the Apache County Sheriff's Dept. site

Residents of the Springerville, Eagar and South Fork
areas will be allowed to return to their homes.

As of Sunday, June 12 at 10 a.m., residents of the Springerville, Eagar and South Fork
areas who were evacuated because of the massive Wallow Fire will be allowed to return
to their homes.

After consulting with fire officials, it has been determined that the fire risk has diminished
enough that it will no longer be a threat to the citizens of the towns.

But, it should be noted that the smoke from the wildfire still poses serious health hazards
as has been outlined by Chris Sexton, Apache County health director, and the smoke problems
may continue for weeks.

Because of the health problems associated with smoke from the Wallow Fire, Apache
County Public Health Services District and the Emergency Operations Center warns residents
of Eagar and Springerville that it would be best not to return to their homes until the
concentration of smoke diminishes.

Air quality for Eagar and Springerville (Round Valley) has been in the “Unhealthy” to
“Hazardous” range for the last few days. The elderly and very young and those with existing
respiratory problems like emphysema and asthma face increased risk by exposure to tiny
Particulate Matter 2.5 microns and if they return, they do so at their own risk knowing the
hazards associated with possible health effects from wild fire smoke

Information about current smoke conditions can be accessed at

Symptoms from short-term exposure to smoke include scratchy throat, cough, irritated
sinuses, headaches, runny nose and stinging eyes, and more serious reactions among those
in high-risk groups. Elevated levels of PM also increase the potential for asthma attacks
and other asthma-related symptoms in children.

Air pollutants have been associated with increases in respiratory problems and diseases
in children, including reduction of lung function and increased severity or frequency of
asthma attacks. Air pollutants have also been associated with a number of other adverse
health effects, including cancers and heart disease.

People with health issues (heart or lung disease, COPD, emphysema or asthma) should
only return if absolutely necessary. Residents dependent on oxygen should wait to return
to their homes. Hospitals and medical resources are limited. The White Mountain Regional
Medical Center is waiting for air quality to improve before opening to admit patients. Only
the emergency room is open at this time. Anyone needing to be admitted will need to be
transported to another hospital.

Interview with Whitney Wiltbank, owner of Sprucedale Guest Ranch, Alpine/Nutrioso


Sunday morning briefing Channel 3

                                                  Miscellaneous Photos

Back burn highway 260

                                                           The Alpine highway a way firefighters use this dead, flammable grass
to fight the fire and buffer the areas in danger and keep the flames
from spreading.

                                                                    Burnout..fighting fire with...

                                                       Mule deer running to safety

                                                                  Keeping Watch

East Fork of Little Colorado

Fire crew preparing for back burn near Eagar.
So many working so very hard to protect.

Burnout using drip torches.

Hillside Eagar

Navajo Hotshot Crew

Preparing for back burn in Eagar.

Sharpening tools~

4:00 PM
So.. Jeff called and said that he is at the house. Everything is fine. The house is a little smokey
inside..outside, he can see Flat Top. That's a good sign. He will continue to monitor for us. He
will stay there tonight.. Burly, our black cat has already been inside and had his yogurt and has
gone back out. Brutus, our yellow cat, has not shown up yet. But he will.


11:00 pm

Things have quieted down. The big story is over. Media teams are leaving town.
The cat showed up. The house is still standing..Though our home
was a mile from the fire, our property wasn't touched.
Neither was the beautiful mountain that we look at everyday.
Everything is fine. For us.
Those words are not true for others.
There are many families whose reality is changed forever.
The fire is not yet extinguished.

We are thankful that we were spared this time.
But we are grieving and praying for those who have a journey of
recovery as well as those who continue to work
so tirelessly and diligently on our behalf, to bring this fire
to complete submission. 

Thank you so very much to all who have worked and continue to give so
much of them selves to protect our community and to make it safe once again.
Words cannot express our gratefulness.
You have done a GREAT job!!!

(I do not take any credit for any of the images shown on this page.)

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