NEWS RELEASE: Willow Fire July 31, 2020

Location of Origin: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Black Mesa Ranger District

Start Date: July 28, 2020               

Size: Approximately 30 Acres     

Cause: Lightning                              

Percent Contained: 0                                                                     

Personnel: 40   

Resources Assigned: 2 initial attack crew, 2 Type 3 engines, 2 Type 6 engines, 1 Dozer, and various incident management overhead.


The Willow Fire, ignited by lightning on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ Black Mesa Ranger District on July 28 when thunderstorms occupied the area, was reported on July 30. The fire is located within the 2007 Wilkins Fire footprint and is in a remote area where values at risk are minimal and no structures are threatened at this time. The type of fuel is timber, grass, and dead and down material.


The Willow Fire is currently at a Type 4 level and the Incident Commander is Daniel Ruebush. A full suppression strategy is being deployed and will utilize the existing road systems in the area, which includes Forest Service Roads 62, 62B1, 62S7 and 62S.


If weather permits, burning operations will begin today and will continue through Saturday. Smoke will be visible from the communities of Heber-Overgaard, Forest Lakes, Clay Springs, and along Highways 260, 277 and 377. Burnout operations can produce large amounts of smoke, and although these tactics are vital to successful firefighting operations, smoke from wildfires can be hazardous to your health. The Air Quality Division of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality operates a network of portable particulate monitors across Arizona;  anyone with access to the internet can view air quality by visiting their website at


The National Weather Service forecast for Heber-Overgaard is calling for mostly sunny skies today with a high near 94 degrees, and minimal winds. The forecast for tomorrow is calling for a 20% chance of precipitation and increasing winds.    


Members of the public are advised to drive with caution in the area as smoke may reduce visibility. Fire information can be found on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests website at


News Release PDF