Jackson Fire more than doubles in size; rages past 2,000 acres

Contributed Photo: The Jackson Fire is burning in rough terrain. As of Tuesday afternoon it had burned roughly 2,143 acres.

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SANTA TERESA WILDERNESS – The lightning-caused Jackson Fire in the Santa Teresa Mountains west of Pima more than doubled in size in one day, amassing to 2,143 acres as of Tuesday afternoon’s aerial GPS mapping.

The fire started around 6 p.m. on July 11 near Jackson Peak in the Santa Teresa Wilderness and was initially believed to have burned itself out after consuming only about 35 acres. However, winds breathed life back into the fire on Sunday, July 12 and it has been growing exponentially since then despite efforts to suppress it.

The fire is burning mostly in inhospitable terrain and firefighters have to be airlifted to the site. As of Wednesday morning, containment continues to be listed at zero percent.

Much of the fire’s growth Tuesday occurred northward in the Santa Teresa Wilderness, however, the fire also made some movement along Four Mile Canyon and burned approximately 332 acres onto San Carlos Apache Tribal land. According to Bureau of Land Management Public Affairs Officer June Lowery, the portion on tribal land burned lower elevation sparse fuels and died out.

Crews continue to construct fire lines and scout the rough terrain on the west side for how to best attack the fire by locating defensible terrain features, such as trails, roads, or continuous ridges, according to Lowery. Additionally, firefighters are continuing protection actions around structures along Black Rock Road.

The Southeast Arizona Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team led by Incident Commander Darrell Howell is in charge of the fire and has three crews and a fire use module assigned. In addition, they are supported by two helicopters, two engines, and five water tenders. Single-engine air tankers (SEATS) are at their disposal as needed.

Lowery advised that “today’s crew work assignments will be to continue to scout on the west, construct lines and prepare them for possible burnouts on the north and south, and monitor and patrol the eastern portion. Line construction along Black Rock Road continues westward for possible burnout if needed. Crews will also continue point protection work around structures and residences along Black Rock Road. The fire continues to be managed with a full suppression strategy with minimal impact suppression tactics applied in the Santa Teresa Wilderness. Although resource advisors have identified no historic cultural sites within the fires planning area, firefighters are vigilant for any indications of sites that might be identified as they construct fire lines.”

Black Rock Road is closed at the San Carlos Apache Reservation boundary and a temporary flight restriction has been placed over the Jackson Fire area.

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