Highline Fire June 15, 2017 Evening Update: La Cienega and Ellison Creek Estates Evacuated Due to Forecasted Downslope Winds Tonight

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


  • Acres: 4,258 acres based on infrared data 
  • Start Date: June 10, 2017
  • Cause: Unknown, under investigation 
  • Origin: 8 mi N of Payson in 1990 Dude Fire Scar
  • Containment: 35%
  • Fuels: Grass, brush, heavy and down, Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer
  • Total personnel: 1,069 


The communities of La Cienega and Ellison Creek Estates, in the Ellison Creek drainage north of the Control Road, have been evacuated due to forecasted strong down-slope winds between 3 and 6 AM Friday morning.  For the safety of the residence of these two subdivisions, the Gila County Sheriff, in consultation with the Incident Management Team, has evacuated the two subdivisions before nightfall to avoid a potential evacuation in the pre-dawn hours.  The fire remains approximately one mile upslope of La Cienega this evening.  The Bonita Creek subdivision remains in pre-cautionary pre-evacuation status and residents should be prepared as conditions can change rapidly.


Residents in the evacuated communities should not wait to be contacted by authorities before leaving.  Early evacuation of the area ensures your safety and helps firefighters keep roads clear for firefighting equipment. 


Sign Up for Gila County’s Emergency Alerts at http://www.readygila.com.  This is the best way for the county to reach you with updates.


Once residents leave, they will not be allowed in until the area is deemed safe.  Law enforcement officers will be patrolling the closed area to provide security 24/7. 


A Red Cross Shelter is located at the Payson High School, 301 S. McLane Rd, Payson, AZ 85541. 


Large animals may be taken to the Payson Multi-event Center, 1400 S Beeline Highway, Payson, AZ.


Today the fire continued to burn east into Ellison Canyon.  Firefighters successfully held the fire below the Rim escarpment today.  Early morning winds push the fire south over the Highline Trail in Ellison Creek.  Crews were able to put line around the fire that sloped over the trail.  The construction of contingency dozer line below the Highline Trail in Ellison Creek progressed east as an additional measure of protection for La Cienega and Ellison Creek Estates.  On the fire’s west flank crews made progress in securing line in Dry Dude Creek where they plan to cut-off the fire’s westward movement.


Tonight firefighters are prepared to hold the fire north of the Highline Trail as downslope winds are forecast.  Structure protection crews are pre-positioned in the La Cienega and Ellison Creek Estates to defend structures.  Crews will work to maintain the progress made today in keeping the fire above the Highline Trail in both Dry Dude Creek and Ellision Creek.  Above the Rim crews will patrol for potential spot fires and continue to improve line along the 300 Road.  Crews will monitor and patrol what was the Bear Fire burned area and is now part of the Highline Fire.


Tonight stronger downslope winds are forecast for Ellison and Dry Dude Creek drainages after midnight.  Downslope winds may push the fire toward the Highline Trail and increased nighttime fire activity is possible challenging the established lines.  While temperatures will cool, forest fuels will remain critically dry into the morning when winds are expected to peak at up to 20 mph.



A Highline Fire Community Meeting will be held tomorrow, June 16, at 7pm at the LDS church in Christopher Creek (546 W Ashby Apple Dr, Payson, AZ 85541). American Sign Language (ASL) services will be provided and the meeting will be livestreamed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HighlineFireInfo/ . You do not need a Facebook account to view the recording available on Facebook following the meeting; however you can only view the meeting Live if you’re logged in.


Today the Tonto National Forest expanded its closure order. Coconino and Tonto National Forests Closure Orders and Fire Restrictions are now in effect.


Firefighters are working to protect values at risk where they can safely do so.  Values include watersheds, private property and adjoining communities, pipelines, range improvements, powerlines, air quality, federally protected species, and nationally and regionally trail systems.


Fire Information: (928) 985-0097 and (928) 362-2916 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm)

Media Line: 928-793-1955

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5233/

Arizona Fire Information: http://azein.gov

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/highlinefire

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