Crews Clean Up Suppression Efforts Behind Woodbury Fire, Now 5th Largest In Arizona History

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 6:06pm
Updated: Monday, July 1, 2019 - 10:46am

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Fire cleanup
Casey Kuhn/KJZZ
The Wolf Mountain Crew clean up cleared brush in Top-of-the-World.

Fire management crews are coming in behind the Woodbury Fire this week to clean up suppression efforts.

A 22-person crew gathered cut junipers and bushes five miles south of the fire.

They were working between Superior and Globe in a small community called Top-of-the-World.

The fire was unlikely to make its way back this way. Crews had already come through to take out dry vegetation as a natural buffer around the area.

Wolf Mountain Crew Captain TJ Ortega from the State Forestry and Fire Department said all steps of wildfire management matter.

“Every part of the fire is important, from fighting the fire to doing the suppression that we’re doing now,” Ortega said.

His crew, staffed with inmates from the Arizona Department of Corrections, loaded the cut brush into a chipper.

Top-of-the-World will get to use the leftover chips for mulch.

Suppression Repair Supervisor Kris Croddy is with the Coronado National Forest.

“We all come from all walks of life and all over the United States to work on these fires together,” he said.

Croddy said clearing the vegetation is one of the last steps in the fire management process. That process includes coordinating hundreds of people around the wildfire.

“When operations and everyone figures the time is right, then we start with the suppression repair,” Croddy said.

Croddy said this step cleans up the leftover buffer lines cut out of the local landscape.

“And obviously we start on the coldest part of the fire. If it’s even remotely looking warm, we won’t touch it and leave the lines there until it’s cold, cold black,” Croddy said. 

The latest numbers show Woodbury Fire has grown to more than 123,000 acres and is the fifth largest fire in Arizona history.