Wallow Fire

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Wallow Fire
Wallow NASA modis 6-08-11.jpg
NASA satellite image, June 8, 2011, at 1:25 PM MDT
New Mexico
Coordinates33°36′07″N 109°26′56″W / 33.602°N 109.449°W / 33.602; -109.449Coordinates: 33°36′07″N 109°26′56″W / 33.602°N 109.449°W / 33.602; -109.449
Date(s)May 29, 2011 (2011-05-29) – July 8, 2011 (2011-07-08)
Burned area538,049 acres (2,177 km2)
  • 522,642 acres (2,115 km2) in Arizona
  • 15,407 acres (62 km2) in New Mexico
Buildings destroyed72
Non-fatal injuries16
Wallow Fire is located in Arizona
Wallow Fire
Smoke from Wallow Fire in Albuquerque, sunset, June 7, 2011
Wallow North and Horseshoe Two Fires (lower left), Arizona. NASA satellite image, midday, June 12, 2011. Vertical line is AZ-NM state line.

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.[2][3] 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.[1]


The fire was started accidentally by two men who were camping. They cooperated with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges relating to mismanagement of their campfire.[4] In November, 2012 they were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3.7 million.[5][6]


The communities of Alpine,[1] Blue River, Greer, Nutrioso, Sunrise, Springerville, Eagar in Arizona,[7][8] 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.[9][10] On June 11, 2011, the leading edge of the fire advanced into Catron County, New Mexico.[11]

On June 12, evacuations were lifted for Eagar, Springerville and South Fork.[12] 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[13] and Greer[14] and on June 21, the evacuation for Luna, NM was lifted.[15] Additionally, the Apache National Forest was closed to the public.[16]

On July 3, the fire was 95% contained. The Wallow Fire was declared 100% contained as of 6 p.m., July 8.[1]


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[edit]

The thick smoke in the NASA satellite image 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.[17][18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "InciWeb: Wallow Fire". InciWeb. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  2. ^ Lindsey Collom; William Hermann; Ofelia Madrid (June 7, 2011). "Arizona fire: Residents forced to flee as winds fuel blaze". The Arizona Republic. Phoenix: John Zidich. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  3. ^ Lacey, Marc; Frosch, Dan (9 June 2011). "Wallow Fire in Arizona Threatens Electrical Grid". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  4. ^ Fonseca, Felicia (March 28, 2012). "UPDATED: Cousins Plead Guilty to Ariz. Fire Charges". The Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  5. ^ "Payment schedule for Wallow Fire restitution". Arizona Capitol Times. November 20, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  6. ^ Morales, Laurel (November 8, 2012). "Wallow Fire Starters Ordered To Pay Victims $3.7 Million". Fronteras Desk. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
  7. ^ "Emergency bulletins: "Crews prepare roads, dozer lines last night on Wallow fire"". Azein.gov. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  8. ^ Query results
  9. ^ "Wallow fire burns through Greer, Arizona" , Wildfire Today, June 9, 2011
  10. ^ Holland, Catherine (June 10, 2011). "Wallow Fire: DC-10 tanker pilot calls fire 'impressive'". azfamily.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  11. ^ "Firefighters Brace For Winds as Fire Crosses into New Mexico ABC News, June 11, 2011". Abcnews.go.com. 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  12. ^ "Wallow fire update: Evacuations lifted for Eagar, Springerville and South Fork". Azfamily.com. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  13. ^ "Alpine residents allowed to return home". Wmicentral.com. 2011-06-18. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  14. ^ "Greer residents to return home". Wmicentral.com. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  15. ^ ""Wallow Fire PM Update 6-22-2011" InciWeb". Inciweb.org. 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  16. ^ United States Forest Service (2011-06-03). "Emergency Closure Order, Apache National Forest" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  17. ^ Holli Riebeek; Michon Scott (June 2011). "Wallow Fire Continues to burn". Greenbelt. NASA. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  18. ^ Audi, Tamara (9 June 2011) "Arizona Fires Worsen: Authorities Say Biggest Blaze Covers 389,000 Acres; 2 Towns Ordered to Evacuate" Wall Street Journal
  19. ^ Query results

External links[edit]

Wikinews-logo.svg Smoke from Arizona fire spreads to other states at Wikinews