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Backbone Fire Morning Update June 22, 2021

Acres: 37,296 acres
Percent Containment: 0%
Start Date: June 16, 2021
Cause: Lightning
Origin Location: Approximately 12 miles west of Pine and Strawberry, Arizona
Fuels: Pinyon Juniper, Chaparral, Brush, Grass, Cactus
Personnel Assigned: 442

Active suppression operations continue on Backbone Fire

Last night, fire personnel began a firing operation starting at the intersection of state routes 260 and 87 near the communities of Strawberry and Pine. Crews plan to spend today holding and improving this line. Firefighters and equipment continued to construct and improve the community protection line around Strawberry. Structure protection crews worked to protect values at risk and assess hazards in the communities of Strawberry and Pine. Crews were inserted into Hardscrabble Canyon to construct direct line on the fire. On the west side, the fire continued to advance slowly to the northwest, reaching the vicinity of Brown’s Spring on the Verde River. Residents of Camp Verde and nearby communities will continue to see the fire follow this pattern of growth for the next several days while firefighters establish containment lines to stop this growth. Crews are working along State Route 260 to prepare for continued burning operations. Aircraft will be used to keep the fire east of the Verde River and to slow forward advance wherever they can be effective. Dry conditions persist, allowing for active to extreme burning conditions.

Public Land Closures: An emergency area fire closure has been issued to protect public health and safety from fire activities. All Tonto, Coconino and Prescott National Forest lands, roads and trails in the area of the Backbone Fire are closed. Full details of area and road closures are available on the Backbone Fire InciWeb page at: The entire Coconino and Kaibab National Forests will be closed for public safety beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday June 23.
Road Closures: State Route 260 is closed between Camp Verde and State Route 87. State Route 87 is closed north of Payson to Clints Well. Motorists are advised to visit for current road closures before traveling.
Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) is working closely with the agencies responding to wildfires across the state. While there has been some impact to APS infrastructure due to the Backbone Fire, there are no customers without power at this time because of fire activity and disruption in service is not currently anticipated. APS is monitoring fire progress and will coordinate with emergency response agencies in the event there is a need to take power lines out of service to protect firefighters and/or if the fire or smoke impacts electrical infrastructure. APS customers can visit for information on how to be prepared for an outage and to view the APS outage map.

Weather: Temperatures will remain well above normal and are exceeding 100 degrees with single-digit humidity. Southwest winds will increase during the day with gusts of 13 to 18 mph possible.
Evacuations: Evacuation orders were issued for the communities of Pine and Strawberry. Residents and visitors should contact their county or visit for information regarding evacuation status.
No Drone Zone: A temporary flight restriction remains in place over the Backbone Fire.
Fire Danger Remains Extreme: All State Trust Land, Prescott, Tonto and Coconino national forests are under Stage II Fire Restrictions. Please use caution when recreating or working outdoors. Check for fire restrictions or information on fire activity around Arizona at:

Backbone Fire Information
• Phone: 928-362-4088
• InciWeb:
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