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Oak Fire being managed for multiple objectives

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.

Objectives:
- Provide for public, firefighter and aviation safety.
- Contain fire within the National Forest boundary.
- Manage this natural ignition fire to improve wildlife habitat and forage; improve rangeland conditions; watershed conditions; improve forest health.
- Minimize fire severity impacts to threatened and endangered species habitat (i.e. Chiricahua leopard frog, Mexican spotted owl). Try to maintain buffer zones to trap sediment.
- Utilize Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) when conducting fire management operations in the Wilderness.

Resources Assigned:
- Wildland Fire Module (skilled 8 person hand crew)
- Engines: 7 assigned
- 5 hotshot crews
- 2 Type 2 hand crews
- Helicopters: 4
- Air Attack Platform
- Single engine air tankers available, used as needed
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 29, 2014 at 2:08:52 PM MDT

Incident Type Wildfire

Cause Lightning

Date of Origin Tuesday June 17th, 2014 approx. 05:45 PM

Location Approximately 34 miles NW of Wilcox, AZ

Incident Commander Scott Glaspie

Incident Description Lightning-caused Fire Is Being Managed For Multiple Objectives

Current Situation

Total Personnel 224

Size 10,717 Acres

Percent of Perimeter Contained 5%

Fuels Involved
Mostly pinyon/oak with a high amount of manzainta understory at the higher elevations. Also in ponderosa pine, mainly in drainages. Grass and scattered pinyon-juniper at lower elevations.

Outlook
Planned Actions
Crews will utilize lighting patterns to minimize fire severity and provide for backing fire where possible. Backing fire is fire which burns backing down from higher to lower elevations. It generally burns at a lower intensity and rate of spread than fire burning uphill. By utilizing backing fire crews achieve the benefits of fire consuming excess fuel at a low level of intensity, with minimal negative impacts to watersheds and mature vegetation.

Crews will continue to assess and prepare (remove excess live and dead vegetation) holding features on the east side of the fire, continue to hold and secure the line on the north side, and scout for possible containment and check lines to the north/west and improve access in that area.

They will continue to thin/prepare and wrap historic structures with fire resistant material on the west side in Rattlesnake Canyon and at Shootout Cabin. Crews will mop-up and secure containment lines on the north and east portion of the fire near Deer Creek and Deer Creek Ranch.
Crews will apply fire (burning out and/or dropping "ping pong balls" from a helicopter) to place fire on the landscape in preplanned areas as needed to limit fire activity and severity.

To date crews have constructed over 15 miles of fire line, improved 4 miles of road, and conducted several burnouts. The fire is expected to stay active until a monsoonal weather pattern settles into the area.

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 will continue to be active with short intermittent uphill runs. Some of the activity will be intense for short periods of time. Most activity is on the south and west side of the fire. There will be continued preparation and evaluation for containment on the east side.

Remarks
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, shrubs, snags and decadent grasses. 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
Today: temperature 98 degrees; relative humidity 10%; winds north/west 9 to 14 miles per hour (mph), gusting to 25mph. Tonight: Temperature 61 degrees; relative humidity 46%; winds west 10 to15mph. Continued dry, with possible Haines Index 6 - High by midweek, prior to chance of moisture by Thursday or Friday.

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