The Rattlesnake Fire burning in a remote area of the White Mountains has reached nearly 20,000 acres and is 25 percent contained. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, more than 500 personnel are fighting the blaze.
The Rattlesnake Fire is burning about 20 miles south of Alpine on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations. It’s near the site of the 2011 Wallow Fire, the largest in Arizona’s recorded history.
"This is a ground fire predominantly—low to moderate fire intensity. So just creeping along the ground and burning up the ground fuels. It’s not the same sort of conditions or fuels as when the Wallow Fire happened. This is a different story," says Steven Johnson with the incident command team.
Johnson says crews are trying to reduce impacts to area watersheds and other natural resources near the Bear Wallow Wilderness Area.
The wildfire isn’t currently threatening any structures or communities, but smoke is impacting roadways and several forest closures are in effect. The Rattlesnake Fire was human caused and under investigation.
The Apache-Sitgreaves as well as the Coconino and southern parts of the Kaibab National Forest will begin fire restrictions Friday.