Valentine Fire Update

Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023


September 1, 2023

Size: 1089 acres

Start Date: August 16, 2023

Cause: Lightning

Completion: 35%

Total personnel: 200

Location: 11 miles northeast of Young, Arizona and 27 miles east of Payson, Arizona

Fuels: Ponderosa Pine, Hardwood litter and timber

Highlights: Gila County Sheriff's Office announced yesterday that the communities of Ponderosa Estates and Colcord Estates have been placed into SET status. This decision was made by Forest Officials, the Fire Management Team, and Gila County Sheriff's Office for residents' safety, due to the proximity of the containment line and firing operation to the communities. For real time evacuation notifications from Gila County Emergency Management via cellular phone, landline phone and/or email, please visit:

Operations: Yesterday, crews held existing containment lines, monitored, and completed some firing operations below the 291 powerline access road during the day shift. A night shift was established due to favorable wind conditions and included firing operations west along the 291 road. Today, crews will continue to hold lines, monitor, and make contingency plans for the northwest fire perimeter.

Fire Ecology: Fuels are an important component of fire ecology because what they are, and when and how they burn, is what determines the effects of a fire. When ponderosa pine has burned frequently, the fire behavior is moderate to low, with some small groups of trees or individuals 'torching' occasionally, but most of the fire would be a surface fire that burns through grass and surface litter. Such fires kept fuel from building up by converting it to smoke, ash, charcoal, and other substances which are beneficial to the environment. They also kept the potential fire behavior and effects at levels that were both manageable and beneficial. In many areas, the Valentine Fire is a 'first entry' fire, and will significantly decrease the potential fire behavior and the severity of subsequent fires for many years.

Weather: Yesterday, Cloud cover and light precipitation to the west helped raise humidity in the fire area, however, it is expected to remain dry throughout the weekend. Some precipitation and thunderstorms may form along the rim again today but wetting rains are not expected in the area until early next week.

Closures: An emergency closure order for the Valentine Fire will go into effect 6 a.m. Sept. 5, 2023. The public is asked to avoid the fire area. The purpose of the closure order is to protect public health and safety during the Valentine Fire, and to protect assigned firefighting personnel engaging in wildland firefighting operations. Signs and gates will be in place to remind the public not to enter the fire area. Please visit the Alerts and Notices page for more information.

Safety: The health and safety of firefighters, and the public are always the highest priority. Members of the public are asked to avoid the fire area.

Smoke: Smoke from the Valentine Fire may be visible in the surrounding areas for many days. Smoke will be heavier in the mornings as it settles into the lower elevations and will lift as temperatures increase. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures An interactive smoke map at allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.

Information Links and Contacts:

Tonto National Forest


Fire Email

Fire Information Line (928) 421-4579 • Office Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM


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