SAFFORD — More smoke may be visible earlier today on the south side of the Frye Fire as firefighters bring the uncontrolled fire edge down to Highway 366. Weather conditions early today were favorable for firefighters to begin what is known as a “firing operation”, beginning upslope between the Fort Grant Vista Point and Big Creek along Highway 366.
The uncontrolled fire edge in that area of the fire is currently in a location that is not safe to put firefighters directly on the ground. The purpose of the operation is to move the fire from the existing, uncontrolled fire edge down slope through unburned islands of vegetation until the fire reaches Highway 366, and at a controlled speed to minimize heat intensity, burn severity, and to keep the fire on the ground and out of the trees. This allows firefighters to be proactive instead of reactive, fighting fire on their terms instead of nature’s terms.
Firefighters will use a helicopter with specialized aerial ignition equipment to ignite narrow strips of vegetation along the existing uncontrolled fire edge up high on the slope where firefighters cannot access the fire from the ground. Each strip will burn into the fire edge across the slope. Then another strip of vegetation will be ignited and the process will be repeated. This will keep the fire moving slowly downslope as it burns in narrow strips until it reaches the highway.
Additional helicopter support will supply water drops as necessary to keep the movement of the fire in check as it “backs” down the mountain toward…
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