Highline Fire June 14, 2017 Morning Update: Firefighters Working to Hold Fire on Rim as Fire Flanks East into Upper Ellison Creek

Release Date: Jun 14, 2017  

Contact(s): Highline Fire Information (928) 985-0097


  • Acres: 1,359 acres (based on infrared flight) 
  • Start Date: June 10, 2017
  • Cause: Unknown, under investigation 
  • Origin Location: 8 mi N of Payson in the 1990 Dude Fire Scar
  • Containment: 0%
  • Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy dead and down, Ponderosa pine
  • Total personnel: 642  and mixed conifer


With higher temperatures the fire became most active on the east flank, burning through upper Moore Creek, over the Myrtle Trail and spotted into upper Ellison Creek.  Air tankers were used to slow the forward progress as crews worked to hold the fire and catch spot fires above the Rim. With fire now over Myrtle Trail and into the Ellison Creek drainage, crews worked overnight to complete strategic firing operations south of the 300 Road at the Rim.  While the fire’s west flank was less active, the fire continued to burn west toward the 2009 Rim Fire burn scar.  Air tankers were used to check the western flank at the Rim Fire scar.  Crews held the fire above the Highline Trail overnight and completed strategic firing operations off the trail to remove unburned fuels between the fire and the trail.


Today, fire crews will work to hold the fire north of Highline Trail, south of the 300 Road and establish new line at the head of Ellison Creek.  Today’s operation will focus on checking the fire at the Rim as it is expected to continue to move east across the upper Ellison Creek drainage.  Firefighters will continue to improve the Highline Trail on the fire’s south flank and work to construct dozer line above the communities in lower Ellison Creek.  A structure protection group will continue to prepare communities below the Highline Trail and complete the structure protection plan.  This morning the Southwest Incident Management Team also assumed command of the nearby Bear Fire which is in patrol status.


Hotter, drier weather is expected to increase over the next few days. Unstable atmosphere over the fire has resulted in increased fire behavior and rapid fire growth. Temperatures are predicted to be warmer today than yesterday, with highs near 90 degrees, which will drive relative humidity to a critically low 5%. 


Firefighters will be challenged by extreme burning conditions this afternoon as upslope, south to southwest winds will again push the fire north toward the Rim and east in upper Ellison Canyon.  A large smoke column is expected to develop again this afternoon, impacting communities to the north and east of the fire.  While fire activity has been minimal at night, the forecast calls for increased down canyon winds tonight which could challenge firefighters holding the fire at the Highline Trail.


No evacuation orders are in effect at this time. A Precautionary Pre-Evacuation Notification is in effect for residents in Bonita Creek community.  It is important for residents in these areas to be prepared as conditions can change rapidly.


Coconino and Tonto National Forests (NF) Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions on the Tonto NF remain in effect.


Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of this area. More info visit Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org


Firefighters are working to limit the fire’s spread and protect values at risk where they can do so safely and effectively. These values include watersheds, private inholdings and local communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, federally listed and sensitive species, and nationally and regionally significant trail systems.


Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/ (Air Quality info, County Emergency Alert sign-up link, Firewise tips)

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HighlineFireInfo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/highlinefire