Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tinder Fire Post #9

Here's a short synopsis of The Tinder Fire as of Tuesday morning.  The official burner area is now over 11,000 acres. Quite a bit of containment line has been put in place but the official percentage hasn't been released yet.

The Fire People staged a meeting in Winslow Monday evening and posted a full transcript of the event.  It's the best source yet for understanding the situation.  See: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/5763/42779/

At least one photo of a destroyed home has been posted on Twitter but officials haven't released a damage estimate yet.  The fire came within 100 feet of SR 87 on Sunday.

It looks like there is very good containment on the west side of the fire and unless the winds come out of the east, it's very unlikely the fire will cross highway.

Winds will continue to be problematic Tuesday but the much-anticipated stormette will arrive by late afternoon and winds will most like lay down as the mini-storm passes.  Not much precip is forecast--maybe an inch of snow on the fire line.  However, temps will plummet and humidity will soar and those are the two key ingredients fire fighters love and need to have in their favor for an incident such as this one.

Once the winds lay down, fire managers will probably be able to "go direct" on the north end of the fire and bring a halt to the expansion in that area.  Rumors abound that there are three four engine jet tankers waiting to drop retardant on the fire line.  If those tankers can be brought into the asset mix, the tide could turn very rapidly.

There's no word yet on when evac orders will be lifted. SR 87 will remain closed until the evac orders are lifted. Officials made it clear at the meeting last night they didn't want to let people back in only to have them ordered back out.  However, chances are pretty good that the evac orders will be lifted after this stormette passes and officials assess their collective  progress at that time.

We're speculating the evac orders could be lifted as early as Wednesday and almost certainly no later than Thursday afternoon.

The luck of having a stormette come to the fire line is certainly a favorable factor in stemming the evolution of the Tinder Fire.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Tinder Fire Post #8

(The previous Post #8 was deleted.)  The revised burned area has been set at 8,623 acres.  This is based on an overnight infrared flyover by NIROPS.

Total personnel is still listed at 510.  We expect additional personnel to be arriving today so that figure should rise in both the evening and Tuesday morning reports.  We have been unable to determine the quantity and type of aerial assets assigned to The Tinder Fire.

We did learn that an NWS IMET arrived in fire camp yesterday.  The IMET, as usual, will be a huge help to Day's T1 IMT in understanding localized weather patterns.

ABC15 did a Monday morning live flyby and captured very instructive video showing fire behavior at numerous locations along the far flung fireline.  Even though the ADOT Clint's Well weather data site shows relatively light overall wind and gusts in the teens, the ABC 15 overflight indicated active, wind-driven fire behavior.  Since winds are expected to increase Monday, we would expect fire behavior to likewise accelerate.

Winds will continue to blow out of the southwest and south southwest so the trend will be for the fire to continue to burn toward the northeast.  However, yesterday's fire activity produced numerous spot fires alongside and ahead of the main fire.  Fire fighters definitely have their hands full in addressing these challenging conditions.

The Monday morning IMT report indicates structures were lost on Sunday.  However, no official assessment has been conducted to determine the number of structures lost.  Undoubtedly it is too dangerous for officials to venture into the burned areas to conduct such assessments.

Typically in incidents such as this one, the Incident Commander will issue a call for assistance to fire departments from statewide cities and towns.  It is not uncommon for scores of structural strike teams and other assets to be sent to such an incident.  We would expect that to happen today and tomorrow.  We would expect such municipal assets to be assigned throughout the area to conduct structural fire protection in the event of sudden changes in fire direction and/or behavior.

The bulk of our coverage today will be on Twitter via the hashtag #TinderFire.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Tinder Fire Post #7

Obviously, The Wind is The Game here, folks.  Whichever way the wind blows determines what gets toasted and what doesn't.

We always like to look at The Big Picture when it comes to the wind.  If you just wonder about the wind in your own local neighborhood, you're missing the whole drift, so to speak.

Right now there is a "Controlling Low Pressure" in The Great Basin and it is guiding and powering the winds in Arizona.  There's Good News and Bad News in this situation.  First: The Good News!  The Wind direction will remain fairly steady and unlikely to suddenly shift direction(s) under such a pattern.  Now: The Bad News.  The wind speed isn't suddenly going to diminish when the sun goes down as it typically does.

Nope, this is a "frontal driven wind" and those are the worst winds, as far as fire fighting goes, because they are the ones that continue well after the sun goes down and sometimes continue all night along and kick right back up the next day.

Luckily, the prevailing wind direction is going to continue to drive The Tinder Fire northeast.  The farther northeast it goes, the more likely that it runs out of Maxi Fuel and runs into Mini Fuel.  Yes, those grasslands outside of the Coconino Plateau timberlands are rich with dry fuels but those fuels are NO match for air tankers and attack crews.  Once The Tinder Fire hits grass, it's hours are numbered.
 Source: https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-97.99,35.72,1225/loc=-111.888,35.838

It's inevitable that many properties on the southeast sector of this area were impacted.  We won't know the damage for a day or two but such damage appears certain. Our Heart goes out to those who have suffered losses.

Tinder Fire Post #6

(Editor's note added at 7:30 AM AZT: The Sunday evening fire report indicated burned area at 8,000 acres. Deduct the 500 acre earlier estimate and that leaves a gain of 7,500 acres or roughly 11 square miles.  That would be consistent with the 2  mile by 5 mile footprint shown by the MODIS data yesterday.)

The Tinder Fire has made at least a four mile run today based on yesterday's fire map and today's MODIS data.  The MODIS data shows the fire expanded to the northeast and this is verified by the fire's smoke plume radar footprint.

We used a pretty straight forward method of "approximating" the fire front location as of the latest MODIS data available to us.

We then interpolated a line of today's "run" to that point.  On a sobering note, if the winds would have been coming from the due south, a run of similar magnitude and length would have theoretically taken the Tinder Fire across State Route 87 and into the densely developed residential areas.

Tinder Fire Post #5

Here's another photo from AZ State Forestry taken at an undisclosed location. 
Here's a look at The Tinder Fire smoke plume as observed at 2:54 PM (AZT) by NWS Flagstaff  NEXRAD radar.  The NWS Flagstaff narrative says the smoke plume now extends 80 miles away from the incident site, reaching as far as Dilkon, Arizona, on The Navajo Nation.  NWS Flagstaff says the winds will continue into the evening:

"Southwest wind gusts in the 40 to 50 mph range to continue through this evening across much of northern Arizona as a late season low pressure system settles over the Great Basin. Wind speeds to decrease after sunset but will remain breezy (15-25 mph gusts to 35 mph) through midnight across the Mogollon Rim and other high terrain. This due to the passage of a mid level vort max. The smoke plume from the Tinder fire is being tracked on radar and extends 80 miles to the north northeast from the source. Expect smoke impacts around Winslow and Dilkon through at least tonight."


Meanwhile, Claudia Hauser sent a photo of the closure of State Route 87 on the south end at Clint's Well.

Meanwhile, APS Tweeted: "Due to the current conditions of the , we are de-energizing about 1,500 customers in the Blue Ridge community. This is being done as part of fire mitigation efforts.

Tinder Fire Post #4

Here is a photo of The Tinder Fire taken about 2:30 PM AZT by Dear Friend Claudia Hauser.  She posted the photo on our Facebook.  Her location was north of Clint's Well on Forest Highway 3 (Lake Mary Road) looking northeast toward the incident vicinity.

Meanwhile, the official closure of State Route 87 from Clint's Well (Milepost 290) to Milepost 312.  Motorists in Winslow are being advised that the road is closed and sly discouraged from heading south.  However, SR 87 is technically still open south of Winslow until Milepost 312.

Most recent MODIS data as retrieved and posted my Matt Pace shows the fire has expanded toward the northeast rather than making a run north on the residential areas.

Tinder Fire Post #3

The above photo was posted on the ADOT Twitter feed around 1:30 PM (Ariona Time) looking north on State Route 87 from the Clint's Well vicinity.  State Route 87 is closed to both north bound and south bound traffic north of Clint's Well. Evacuees have been told to travel north of State Route 87 toward Winslow.

Above is another photo of the Tinder Fire posted on the AZ State Forestry Twitter account. It appears the photo was probably posted about 1 PM (AZT).  There is no location data given.

Tinder Fire Post #2

Evacuation orders have been issued by the Coconino County Sheriffs Office for an immediate evacuation of All Moqui Ranchettes, Starlight Pines, Clear Creek Pines, Tamerron Pines, Ponderosa Pine, Timber Ridge, and Pine Canyon. Evacuees have been instruct to "Go North on AZ87."  (NOTE: We have attempted to co-relate the evac order with the fire map.  The areas in red boxes are mentioned in the evac order.  We will continue to attempt to clarify the evacuated areas.

The winds as measured at the ADOT webcam tower near Clint's Well have been gusting steadily into the 20's since mid-morning.  Some gustshave been into the 30's.  Wind direction has been and continues to be generally from the Southwest  and South Southwest.

The Tinder Fire Post #1

(This blog has been dormant for well over 5 years so it's a perfect place to put our coverage of The Tinder Fire. Our coverage begins at 1 PM (Arizona Time) April 29.  First we will present what we posted on Facebook within the past hour.  Then we will begin to add "coverage components" as  the incident evolves.)

The Tinder Fire is mighty danged close to Roger and Nancy's cabin in Starlight Pines between Clint's Well and Winslow.
The Forest Service is definitely worried about the fire. How do we know they're worried? Well, they brought in Bea Day's Type 1 Incident Mgmt. Team. (See comment below for more info on Bea Day.) There are already 500 personnel assigned to The Tinder Fire, including 7 Hotshot crews and 3 initial attack crews.
For a late April wild fire, those represent a significant commitment of resources. Starlight Pines and several other summer cabin areas are north of the fire. This time of year, the wind blows from the south so those houses are right in the line of fire under a worst case scenario. It's another Red Flag day down there Sunday and the winds are already blowing such that the aerial assets have been grounded.
Susun's in contact with her brother, Roger, and we will be monitoring the situation from afar.

There are only 16 Type 1 Incident Commanders in America and Bea Day is one of them. She's now in charge of the Type 1 IMT that's taken over response to The Tinder Fire near Blue Ridge Reservoir. IC Day knows that country really well and understands the potential worst case scenarios facing fire managers there. Mindi Brogdon did a great article on IC Day when Day was in charge of the Type 1 IMT handling last June's Highline Fire threatening Payson Country. Mindi's article is just about the best summation of IC Day's career and management perspectives as you are likely to find online. IC Day is at left in photo.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Two Year Hiatus

This blog has been dormant for more than two years.  Seems like only yesterday that we were posting away here.  We think  we're going to attempt to bring this blog back to life.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  To be totally honest, we forgot we even HAD this blog!  Imagine that.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Greetings on this Merry Christmas Day!  Happy Holiday wishes to one and all.  May your stockings be filled with glorious gifts all year long.

We posting up here today to talk about one stocking that filled with a lump of coal--The Salt River Stocking.
The Salt River stretch from the Highway 60 bridge down to Roosevelt Lake is Arizona's premier whitewater run.  Since it flows early in the year, people come from all over America to enjoy its mystique and Sonora Desert charm.  Back in the Really Old Days there was no permit required except for a token payment to the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

My, my how things have changed.  Permits have been required ever since some dork blew up Quartzite Falls and prices have increased steadily over the years.  This year, the price of a Salt River permit went into the stratosphere.  It's now $125!!!!!  But wait, that's not all--there's another $10 fee to apply online.  The old form of a mailed application is no longer accepted.  Plus, you have to pay $20 for an inflated Indian permit, too, and that is PER PERSON.  All those going on the Wilderness trip are REQUIRED to spend $40 per person--that's a permit for two days. Here's how the cost for a 10 person trip would calculate: $135 for Forest Service Permit ($13.50 per person) and $40 for Apache permit for a total of $53.50 per person or $535 in permit fees for the trip!!!!!!  That's before the cost of the shuttle.  WOW!  That's simply amazing.

OK, here are the links:

Forest Service permit page
Online application page
Indian Permit Discussion Page
Indian Permit Cost Page

All we can say is--Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!  Cheers, jp

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tip O' the hat to Tap, Gaby, Marie & Steve

What's a recipe for a great story? First, let's start with two damsels in distress. Whip them well into the wilderness. Sprinkle in a mountain lion, some prayer and a dog. Next add heaping dose Camp Verde's Andy Griffith (AKA Tap Parsons). Stir and let simmer for 47 years. Finally, serve with a well seasoned storyteller--none other than Steve (Twain) Ayers.

The December 3rd Camp Verde Bugle dishes up a real story for the ages today entitled, "Heaven-sent: Camp Verde man's kindness opens a lifetime of adventure." Reporter Ayers pens a classic feature tale about a classic Camp Verde icon's role in an informal 1963 wilderness rescue of two teenage girls. It's a heartwarming story guaranteed to bring a glow to the spirit of anyone who knows Tap Parsons. As I read Steve's fine story I almost felt like I was watching either "It's a Wonderful Life" or The Andy Griffith Show.

Tap and I go "way back," as they say, easily more than 25 years. He was always one of my "best buds" in clannish ol' Camp Verde. Somehow, we always felt we were related in some distant genealogical way. Photos of Tap's Dad and Grand Dad looked almost identical to pictures of my Dad and Grand Dad. Niether one of us had time or inclination to research our respective family trees to prove a genetic connection. After a few years, we both just assumed we were somehow related and left it at that. Even though I was labeled an environmentalist, Tap liked me. And even though Tap was The King of The Good Ol' Boys, I liked him. Tap ran Pack Saddle Liquors so our paths crossed often. Tap cared about the Verde River a whole lot more than anybody knew. We had a lot in common and it was always a pleasure to enjoy Tap's gentlemanly hospitality.

Imagine my delight and surprise this morning when I came upon Steve's story in the online edition of the Bugle. Steve's well written words sure brought a lump to my throat and put a mist in my eyes. Obviously, the story existed in its own right. However, no one would have ever known about this story if Steve hadn't stepped into the soup to craft a classic. Stories exist but they don't really become REAL stories until someone takes time to tell them. Thank You, Steve, you played just as vital a role in this story as the protagonists did themselves. Pat yourself on the back and pin yer another gold star on your Life Chart today! YA DUN GOOD!

Click here for the story as it appears in the Camp Verde Bugle.

If the newspaper link fails to function, click here for an archived PDF of the story that we've put up for posterity on our Google Doc's account.
Site Meter