NASA satellite image, June 8, 2011, at 1:25 PM MDT
|Date(s)||May 29, 2011– July 8, 2011|
|Burned area||538,049 acres (2,177 km2)
The Wallow Fire, named for the Bear Wallow Wilderness area where the fire originated, was a massive wildfire that started in the White Mountains near Alpine, Arizona on May 29, 2011. The fire eventually spread across the stateline into western New Mexico, United States. By the time the fire was contained on July 8, it had consumed 538,049 acres (2,177 km2) of land, 522,642 acres (2,115 km2) in Arizona and 15,407 acres (62 km2) in New Mexico.
The fire was started accidentally by two men who were camping. They cooperated with prosecutors and plead guilty to misdemeanor charges relating to mismanagement of their campfire. In November, 2012 they were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3.7 million.
The communities of Alpine, Blue River, Greer, Nutrioso, Sunrise, Springerville, Eagar in Arizona, and Luna in New Mexico were evacuated. In addition to other aircraft, a converted DC-10 Very Large Air Tanker ("VLAT"), capable of dropping up to 12,000 gallons of fire retardant in seconds, was deployed to help fight the fire. On June 11, 2011, the leading edge of the fire advanced into Catron County, New Mexico.
On June 12, evacuations were lifted for Eagar, Springerville and South Fork. On June 14, the Wallow Fire became the largest fire in Arizona history, passing the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, which burned 732 square miles (1,900 km2) in 2002. On June 18 and 20, evacuations were lifted for Alpine and Greer and on June 21, the evacuation for Luna, NM was lifted. Additionally, the Apache National Forest was closed to the public.
On July 3, the fire was 95% contained. The Wallow Fire was declared 100% contained as of 6 p.m., July 8.
Four commercial buildings were destroyed; 36 outbuildings were destroyed and one damaged; 32 residences were destroyed and 5 damaged. The estimated cost was $109 million.
Widespread smoke plume
The thick smoke in the NASA satellite image at right was only part of the smoky haze plaguing the continental United States in early June 2011. According to the U.S. Air Quality “Smog Blog,” smoke from fires in Arizona and New Mexico extended through Texas and Oklahoma up into the Great Lakes region, affecting air quality for large areas east of the Rocky Mountains.
- 2011 Horseshoe 2 Fire
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- Query results
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- United States Forest Service (2011-06-03). "Emergency Closure Order, Apache National Forest" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-06-07.
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- Audi, Tamara (9 June 2011) "Arizona Fires Worsen: Authorities Say Biggest Blaze Covers 389,000 Acres; 2 Towns Ordered to Evacuate" Wall Street Journal
- Query results
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