Tonto National Forest officials taking over Woodbury Fire command

Woodbury Fire photo taken on Trail 106 near the entrance to Superstition Wilderness. (Burned Area Emergency Response)

The Central West Zone Type Three Incident Management Team will be transferring command of the Woodbury Fire back to the Tonto National Forest at 6 a.m. July 5. Firefighting resources will continue to staff the Woodbury fire and patrol the containment line.

The Woodbury Fire started 5 miles northwest of Superior on June 8 and is now 123,875 acres and 86% contained, according to a 11:45 a.m. July 4 release from the Arizona Emergency Information Network.

West Pinto Creek area after the Woodbury Fire, snapped by a Burned Area Emergency Response team archaeologist. (inciweb.nwcg.gov)

The Burned Area Emergency Response team has completed most of its field data collecting and has begun the process of modeling. The team will complete a values-at-risk assessment to determine and prioritize work to protect identified resources, according to the release.

Next week, the BAER team will work to compile an assessment that will be given to Forest Service administration. For continued information on the team, go to inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6405.

Tortilla Flat businesses are still open. State Route 88 is closed starting from Tortilla Flat to State Highway 188 at Theodore Roosevelt Dam. Apache Lake, Apache Campgrounds, picnic sites and trailheads will remain closed until SR 88 is reopened. This closure is expected to be a long-term closure beyond the Fourth of July holiday, according to the release.

“The closure will remain in place as long as firefighters remain in the area and until Tonto National Forest and Arizona Department of Transportation evaluate and address all safety concerns along SR 88,” the release states.

For the purposes of public safety, the forest closure encompasses more than just the fire perimeter. The perimeter of the closure area starts at the forest boundary north of Apache Junction on SR 88 which makes the northern boundary of the closure area, east and south of SR 88 to Roosevelt Dam at State Highway 188 following forest boundary north of Highway 60, according to the release.

Any violation of this closure is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals or $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both, according to the release.

The Arizona Emergency Information Network is the state’s official source for emergency updates, preparedness advice and hazards information, and related resources, according to ein.az.gov.

The Woodbury Fire information line, open 7 a.m.-9 p.m., is 505-399-2439, the e-mail address is 2019.woodbury@firenet.gov and the website is inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6382. For information about evacuations, shelters, livestock and pet shelters call 928-402-8888.

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