Bottom Fire burns 3,000 acres on San Carlos Apache lands near Bylas


A lightning-caused wildfire, dubbed the Bottom Fire, has burned more than 3,000 acres since it began on Monday in an area about 7 miles west of Bylas, fire officials said Thursday.

The fire was discovered burning in a dry riverbed of the Gila River on the Apache tribal lands of San Carlos, according to InciWeb, a forest fire tracking website operated by the US Forest Service.

The brush, tall grass and chaparral shrubs of the area are the main sources of fire fuel.

A larger fire management team, Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management, took command of the fire Thursday morning to bring additional resources and management capabilities to an “increasingly complex” fire, according to InciWeb.

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The Bottom Fire has burned 3,000 acres of land in a riverbed in the Gila River on Apache tribal lands of San Carlos since June 28, officials said Thursday, July 1, 2021.

Winds in the region increased fire activity until heavy rains eased the blaze area on Thursday afternoon. Due to an early monsoon surge, humidity levels are expected to increase due to scattered showers and storms expected throughout the weekend.

Fire crews strategize to build indirect fire lines – a cutoff in potential fuel sources – in front of the main fire. Teams will use bulldozers to clear dense vegetation in the river corridor and pay special attention to protecting the area’s cultural resources, such as eastern Arizona rail infrastructure, according to InciWeb.

Smoke from the background fire will remain visible to many communities in the vicinity of the fire, and people sensitive to the smoke with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures.

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An interactive smoke map is available for the latest information on Bottom Fire smoke at Air Now. The public is asked to stay away from the fire area.

Contact last-minute reporter Amaris Encinas at [email protected] or on Twitter @amarisencinas.

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