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Oak Fire burning on Safford Ranger District in Arizona

The Oak Fire was ignited by lightning on June 17, 2014 in the Galiuro Mountains in eastern Arizona. It is located on the Safford Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest, burning in the general vicinity of China Peak.

The fire is being managed for multiple objectives within a defined planning area mostly within the Galiuros wilderness area. The planning area includes Rattlesnake Canyon on the west and southwest sides, High Creek on the southeast side with the Forest boundary on the east and north sides.

- Provide for firefighter and public safety.
- Improve wildlife habitat, including wildlife forage.
- Fuel reduction to reduce future fire danger.
- Improve rangeland conditions.
- Improve watershed conditions.
- Maximize overall forest health.
- Contain fire within the National Forest boundary.

Resources Assigned:
- Wildland Fire Module (skilled 8 person hand crew)
- Engines: 7 assigned
- 6 hotshot crews
- BLM Crew 4
- Helicopters: 1

Closures: A temporary closure of the area of the fire is being put into effect for safety purposes. The closed area begins at Bottle Canyon to Power's Hill; Rattlesnake Creek, south and east to Holdout Spring; along the East Divide Trail and Paddy's River to the Forest Boundary; all enclosed by the Forest Boundary to the east and north as illustrated on the closure map. This area is located in T08S, T09S, and T10S, R19 and 20E.

Basic Information
Current as of June 26, 2014 at 6:24:34 PM MDT
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Tuesday June 17th, 2014 approx. 03:45 PM
Location Galiuro Mountains in Arizona, Safford Ranger District, Coronado National Forest
Incident Commander Scott Glaspie
Incident Description Lightning-caused Fire Is Being Managed For Multiple Objectives To Benefit Natural Resources.
Current Situation
Size 8,200 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 5%
Fuels Involved
Brush and timber, grass understory.

Significant Events
Heavy smoke in Safford and the general fire area today is the result of a meteorological phenomenon called an inversion, a situation caused by a warmer layer of air settling above a cooler layer below. The air above essentially traps all of the air below it, preventing the smoke from dissipating as it normally would. Smaller inversions have appeared over the fire area in the past days, but none have caused smoke to reach Safford. The duration of the inversion cannot be predicted.

Planned Actions
Aerial ignition (fuel-filled spheres which ignite upon impact with the ground, dropped from a helicopter) may occur along ridgelines within the fire area. This is done to apply fire to the ridgelines and allow it to back down the slope to lower elevations. Generally, backing fires burn more slowly and at lower intensities than fire burning uphill, resulting in consumption of ground fuels and minimal effects to mature trees. These operations are implemented in areas where the fire has already been established.

Projected Incident Activity
The fire is expected to continue to grow to the south and west in the Rattlesnake Creek, Corral Canyon and Paddy's River areas. The fire is expected to stay active until a monsoonal weather pattern settles into the area.
The fire is being managed within a planning area boundary using strategy and tactics necessary to minimize impacts to sensitive areas and values at risk while maximizing benefits to natural resources. Beneficial effects include removal of fuels, decadent grasses, shrubs, and snags. The fire is burning with a mosaic pattern of intensities, with the majority of the area burning at low to moderate intensity.

Current Weather
Weather Concerns
Expected active fire behavior today through Saturday with increased winds, low relative humidity and a Haines Index of 5-Moderate. (Haines index is used to indicate the potential for rapid fire growth due to dry and unstable atmospheric conditions over a fire area. Measured on a scale of 2-6 a high Haines index is correlated with large fire growth where winds do not dominate fire behavior.)

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