Frye Fire to be transferred to local control

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Valley Central: The Frye Fire is expected to be handed back to local control Monday. Very little remains of the fire, which was listed at 93 percent containment, Sunday.

By Jon Johnson

MOUNT GRAHAM – While not completely extinguished, the Frye Fire is on its last legs with continued precipitation on the mountain and is scheduled to have management transferred to the Safford Ranger District on Monday.

Eric Burk File Photo/Gila Valley Central: The Safford Ranger District is scheduled to take over management of the Frye Fire on Monday.

The Frye Fire was started by lightning on June 7 at about 2:45 p.m. and still currently has a few hot spots, most being in the interior and well-contained. The fire hasn’t increased in five days and maxed out at 48,443 acres, making it the largest wildfire in Arizona this year and 14th largest in the state’s recorded history. As of Sunday, containment was listed at 93 percent with very few hot edges remaining. 

After going through five different management teams, the last of the hand crews and last helicopter were released Sunday. However, two engines remain and will stay for a few more days after the Type 3 Incident Management Team leaves Monday.

Lower Mountain reopened

As first reported by Gila Valley Central, the lower portion of Highway 366 to Ladybug Saddle was reopened Friday morning. The reopening allows those with cabins at Turkey Flat to return and normal operations to resume at Angle Orchard.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Forest Service: Some lower recreation areas, such as the day-use part of Noon Creek pictured here, have reopened.

Some of the recreation sites have also reopened, including Noon Creek Picnic Area and Wet Canyon Picnic Area and Upper and Lower Arcadia Campground. The Round-the-Mountain Trailhead and trails on West Peak, Ladybug Trail, Bear Canyon and Dutch Henry are also now open. All other campgrounds and trails remain closed until the order is rescinded.

The Arizona Department of Transportation continues to monitor the highway for hazardous debris, and the public is encouraged to call Arizona 511 for a recording of road conditions before traveling up Mount Graham.

The entire Coronado National Forest remains under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions, meaning no fire is allowed. The no-fly zone has been lifted.