WHITE MOUNTAINS — The Lakeside Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests issued two press releases in the late afternoon of Friday, September 6.
The first news release from the Lakeside Ranger District indicated that the lightning-caused Telephone Fire began Wednesday, Sept. 4, and had burned approximately 230 acres in the Lake Mountain area.
“... Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will be using the Telephone Fire to bring positive benefits to the landscape,” states the release. “Due to the location, the fire will be managed for resource benefit objectives for reducing hazardous fuel accumulations and restoring forest health,” also states the release.
Smoke from the Telephone Fire, already noticeable from nearby residential areas, will continue to be visible from surrounding communities including Vernon, Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low.
“Fire managers will monitor the smoke closely and make every effort to minimize the impacts to residents in the vicinity,” states the release.
No structures or other values are threatened, according to the Forest Service.
The Rocky Fire is also lightning-caused but is burning in the Black Mesa Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests outside of Overgaard.
On Friday, Sept. 6, the news release indicated that the five-acre fire “...is burning in the rugged terrain of Rocky Draw within the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire scar.” and will be “reducing dense forest fuels and improving the overall ecosystem health.”
The Forest Service will be “managing” the fire within a 3,700 acre focus area, “reducing dense forest fuels and improving overall ecosystem health,” states the most recent news release issued Saturday, Sept. 7.
As the fire continues to grow, weather permitting, “smoke is likely to become more visible over the coming days within the community of Heber/Overgaard, Clay Springs, Pinedale and along Highway 260,” adds the news release.
There are no threats near the fire, according to the Forest Service.
Finally, motorists are advised to drive with caution in the areas of both fires as fire traffic and firefighters will be working in those areas.
The Lakeside Ranger District can be reached at 928-368-2100 and the Black Mesa Ranger District can be reached at 928-535-7300. Media contact, Doreen Ethelbah-Gatewood, can be reached at 928-333-6263.
Information on wildfires can also be found by going to Northeastern Arizona Public Information System at http://311info.net/ or by calling 311 or 928-333-3412.