Friday, July 2, 2004 11:00 MST

The fire report this morning is good news -- the burned acreage is up to 1,720 acres -- BUT all is within the cut fire line -- a perimeter line around the main fire area. Back burning to remove the fuels between the cut line and the body of the fire is proceeding very nicely. However it causes a lot of concern because of the large quantity of smoke. The burnout operations are going according to plan.

We have another small fire (~10 acres) underway on the east side of the mountain between High Peak and Heliograph Peak. It was ignited by a lightning strike at the same time as the Noon Fire -- several weeks ago. It is called the Gibson Fire. The Safford Ranger District turned over responsibility for fire fighting operations to the Southwest Area Incident Management Team this morning -- so the Nuttall Fire is now known as the "Nuttall Complex". This is good news too as the Gibson Fire is in a remote canyon and not very accessible to ground crews.

The Air Ops Chief advised that an additional helicopter would be added to the Team at noon today bringing the aircraft complement to 9 helicopters. There are 356 fire fighters on the ground today.

The District Ranger is concerned about personnel traveling past the Columbine Spike Camp (anywhere north of the Columbine Work Center Area) without personal protective equipment (PPE) -- in other words Nomex or fire retardant outer clothing. Yesterday, the Forest Service saw a white Suburban near Webb Peak -- the personnel did not have PPE. They thought it was a UA biology crew. I spoke with one of the biologists this morning -- it was not their vehicle. I reported that to the Forest Service.

I will be attending the 6:00 AM briefings through the holiday weekend -- and will report significant developments via email as they arise.

Have a great 4th of July holiday,

John Ratje

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