Rain, retardant helps stifle Frye Fire’s growth, now listed at 46,760

The Frye Fire has started to utilize retardant drops by helicopter similar to this scene, taken in California in 2016. (Photo by Nick Ut/AP Photo)

By Jon Johnson


MOUNT GRAHAM – A dose of Mother Nature and some no-so-natural chemical is helping keep the Frye Fire at bay.

As of Tuesday morning, the fire was listed at 46,760 acres with 45 percent containment. The fire has cost roughly $16.8 million to fight.

Looking up at the north side of Mount Graham on Tuesday and one might think the fire is basically finished. It’s not, however, and crews continue to actively fight the fire on the southern flank while monitoring the western flank and mopping up on the northern flank.

The Turkey Flat received a dose of rain, roughly .30 of an inch, which helped wet down the area and keep the fire’s growth there to a minimum. A planned burn back near Twilight Road was cancelled the other day, but burn backs have been done near Riggs Lake. A hand line was completed off Forest Road 819 in Twilight Canyon instead, and an additional fire line that is anchored into the rocks in Wet Canyon stopped the fire’s movement to Highway 366.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Paul Schulz: This thunderstorm from June 25 didn’t produce much rain but a localized storm Monday night gave some relief to the fire suppression effort.

Additionally, Hot Shot crews, who were aided by fire retardant drops by helicopters near Shake Trail, stopped the fire from moving into the Wilderness Study Area. In total, helicopters dropped 37,000 gallons of retardant from the portable retardant plant at Fort Grant. 

The Riggs Lake area also received a hefty dose of fire retardant dropped from a helicopter to help stifle the fire. The retardant was also used in the Hells Hole area, according to a news release.