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Tue, July 23

SA Hill fire grows to 2,660 acres, 30 percent contained

Les Stukenberg/PNI<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Firefighters conduct proactive ignition operations on the SA Hill Fire between Cleator and Mayer Wednesday evening. The burning creates a fireline between some of the ranch homes, the town of Mayer and the actual fire burning in rugged canyons to the east.

Les Stukenberg/PNI<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Firefighters conduct proactive ignition operations on the SA Hill Fire between Cleator and Mayer Wednesday evening. The burning creates a fireline between some of the ranch homes, the town of Mayer and the actual fire burning in rugged canyons to the east.

MAYER - The SA Hill fire, burning on the Prescott National Forest between Mayer and Cleator, has grown to 2,660 acres and is 30 percent contained, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Adriane Ragan said Friday morning, Aug. 7.

"(Thursday) night, fire crews successfully completed burnout operations along County Road 178 (Blue Bell Mine Road) to keep the wildfire from advancing further to the east," Ragan said.

Friday, crews were expected to continue to work on the northwest end of the fire, strengthening bulldozer lines along County Road 177 (Mayer-Goodwin Road).

"Overall, efforts to build and reinforce containment lines on the SA Hill Fire have been effective and consistent with the management objectives to keep the wildfire within areas that are most conducive to providing for firefighter and public safety and protecting private property and other values at risk," Ragan said.

Fire managers are watching the weather, which included forecasts of thunderstorms, and are prepared to change tactics if the winds push the fire in a direction that could be dangerous to firefighters.

The fire is being used to manage growth of shrubs in the area, and, Ragan said, that plan

is working. "The wildfire is burning in grass and shrub vegetation that depend on fire to regenerate new and healthier growth," she said. "These improvements to vegetation will in turn result in increased and more diversified habitat for browsing wildlife species, such as mule deer."

The area closure is still in effect: County Road 178 (Blue Bell Mine Road); Forest Roads 259B, 9210A, 9216A, 9268R; and Trail 202 are closed to public access; however, County Roads 177 (Mayer Goodwin Road) and 59 (Crown King Road) remain open.

No evacuations are planned and no structures are threatened.

Ragan said fire managers are hoping for full containment by Sunday at midnight, but "the main factor that would determine whether we meet that date is weather."

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