Fires Continue To Burn Across The State

August 20, 2013

Several fires continue to burn across Arizona. Two of those in the Tonto National Forest were caused by lightning last week. The White and Cain fires have burned more than 1200 acres. 

lightning Lightning can be seen over the mountains in the Prescott National Forest on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Pomrenke)

David Albo, a spokesperson with the Tonto National Forest, said that while humidity moderates the fires, winds from thunderstorms make them worse.

"Sometimes there's really strong outflow gusts ahead of these storms or short duration gusts, but they're very strong, you know, sometimes, you know, 40 to 60 miles an hour," Albo said. "And it's those kind of short duration gusts that can cause a brief increase in fire behavior."

The White Fire is burning south of Superior while the Cain fire is burning in the Four Peaks Wilderness area. Albo said monsoon fires thrive off wind, fuels and the terrain, but humidity and rain keep the intensity down.

A fire burning five miles east of Yarnell is still not contained.  A lightning strike sparked the French Gulch Fire Saturday night.

It has burned at least 400 acres, the State Forestry office said Monday. They said it poses no threat to any urban land. The closest homes are five miles away.

Throughout Monday, three helicopters shuttled in crews and made water drops over the fire. The fire is burning on rocky terrain. Officials said it has the most potential to grow during the day.

19 firefighters died in another fire near Yarnell June 30, when winds shifted and trapped them.

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