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ASH FIRE - starting in Ash Canyon
JUNE 21, 2003  (See information Below)


Ash Fire Photos - June 21-22, 2003
Photos By Doug Snyder (Using Both Wide Angle & Telephoto)
(click on thumbnail for larger view)
Ash_Fire01.jpg (34189 bytes)1:57pm, June 21 Ash_Fire02.jpg (38123 bytes)1:57pm Ash_Fire03.jpg (26818 bytes)1:58pm
Ash_Fire04.jpg (43748 bytes)2:16pm Ash_Fire05.jpg (26220 bytes)2:17pm Ash_Fire06.jpg (24063 bytes)2:17pm
Ash_Fire07.jpg (37841 bytes)3:15pm Ash_Fire08.jpg (30552 bytes)3:15pm Ash_Fire09.jpg (29697 bytes)3:57pm
Ash_Fire10.jpg (30639 bytes)4:18pm Ash_Fire11.jpg (25292 bytes)4:18pm Ash_Fire12.jpg (37111 bytes)5:10pm
Ash_Fire13.jpg (33272 bytes)6:57pm Ash_Fire14.jpg (28712 bytes)7:23pm Ash_Fire15a.jpg (78869 bytes)8:42pm
Ash_Fire16.jpg (38487 bytes)1:44pm, June 22

Last Advisory (6/26/2003)
Fire Name:  Ash
Time/Date Started:       June 21, 2003 at 12:00 PM
Location:  Ash Canyon, South of Sierra Vista in Cochise County
Size:        564 Acres
Cause: Human
% Contained:        100%
Containment Date: June 25, 2003 at 6:00 PM
Cooperating Agencies:  U.S. Forest Service, Arizona State Land Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cochise County, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Public Safety, Private and Rural Fire Departments.

Resources Committed: 2 Hot Shot Crews, 1 Type 3 helicopter, and Misc.
Overhead Personnel.

Predicted Weather:  Winds will be out of the West Northwest at 5-10 MPH. Temps. will be in the high 80's to low 90's  Humidity is expected to be 8%.
Remarks: The local Ranger District, will assume responsibility of the fire at 6:00 AM when Bradley's Northern Arizona Type II Team will be released. The direct line put in by crews yesterday stopped the spread of the fire. Crews spent today rehabilitating the lines. A Burned Area Emergency Recovery Team will continue to assess the burn for rehabilitation options.
No homes have been destroyed.

Two Informational Reports Sent Out By Supervisor Pat Call
 (No. 1 - 6/21/2003) Just a quick note on the fire ...
I've just returned from the command center at the Palominas fire station and wanted to send out an update on the fire.  As of 10 minutes ago (11pm, Saturday night), there were no structures damaged by fire.  There were some very close calls during the late afternoon but thanks to some
great work by the fire crews - some of it apparently over and above the call of duty - there has been no damage.  There has been only one report of a minor injury to one of the fire crew.
Crews were pulled off the mountain around 8pm although crews will continue to work the roads in the canyons all night long.   A Type One crew is expected to take over the fire tomorrow evening.   High winds kept tanker planes from participating to any significant extent throughout the day.  The hope is that the winds will die down a bit tomorrow and the tanker planes will be able to work.  However, when I left the area this evening the wind was continuing to gust very
strongly.  If the winds don't change direction, homes along Stoneridge and in Ash Canyon should be in no danger.  It is anticipated that the winds will not shift.  However, if there is a shift in direction then the danger will increase significantly.
The fire started around 11am on Saturday.  It was small and didn't look as if it would be a problem.  Unfortunately, the wind picked up and the situation changed dramatically.  It is my understanding that there was no official evacuation.  Homeowners along Stoneridge were allowed to stay in their homes; however, if they left the area, they were not allowed back in.  Highyway 92 from Hereford Road to Palominas was closed for most of the afternoon and into the evening to all but local residents.  The closure was in response to a great number of people driving out to see the fire.
There is no official view as of tonight as to the cause of the fire - however, there are two theories.   The first theory suggests that the fire was started by illegals.  Border Patrol sensors picked up a large group (15 to 25 people) in the area approximately an hour before the
fire started.  A large bundle (burned) of marijuana was subsequently discovered.  The second theory is that the fire was started by a workman at one of the homes high on the hill.  Apparently there was some type of grinding which created a lot of sparks.  That area has been isolated and
a fire inspector will be on the scene first thing tomorrow to determine if the workman started the fire.  So, again, as of tonight there is no official cause.
The fire is still burning.  My sense from the people working the fire is that they expect to be fighting this fire hard for the next few days. That's speculation on my part.  Much will depend on the winds.
I'll stay in touch.

(No.2 - 6/23/2003) A brief follow-up on the fire.....
I attended the operations meeting this evening at Valley View school in Palominas and have some more information that may be of interest to you.
While the fire is still burning - it is being contained.  None of the people in charge of the effort wanted to comment on exactly how 'contained' it is, though.  The estimate is that a little over 1000 acres have been burned.  The fire has not gone over the crest of the mountain because of strong winds from the southwest coming up the back of the mountain.  These winds are apparently keeping the fire from going over the crest.  These same winds, however, are creating gusts and eddies which are causing some problems.
Tomorrow an area which still has unburned fuel will be burned.  This is an effort to increase the 'black line' between the wildfire and areas that have already been burned.  If this burn is successful, it will do much to contain the fire.  This 'burn' will be relatively dramatic in terms of smoke.  Administrative personnel feel it will attract attention because of the increase in smoke.   It was my impression that if the 'burn' is successful the fire will become a low priority and it will
simply be a matter of time until the small hot spots have burned out. On the other hand, presenters at the briefing were very clear on one point - this is not a time to become complaisant. 
Once again crews have been pulled off the mountain for the evening. There will be patrols/engines roving the area throughout the night. First thing in the morning, crews will be out cutting fire lines and increasing the 'black line'.  The mountain will be a very busy place all
day tomorrow but, again, my impression is that if all the efforts are successful tomorrow the fire will drop significantly in priority.
The cause of the fire has been determined - at least unofficially.  A worker, while grinding railings at the Lady of the Sierras, created sparks which caught some grass on fire.  The small fire quickly got away from the workers.  The fire is being called 'accidental'.  It is unknown at this point in time if there will be any liability directed towards the contractor or the church.
The Sheriff's department and the DPS will have an increased presence throughout the day tomorrow in the area.  Only residents who live on Stoneridge and Ash Canyon roads will be allowed to enter those areas. It is recommended that unless you have a reason to be in the area you should stay away. 
If there are significant changes to the predictions as to how tomorrow (Monday) will go, I will be back in touch.

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