Rodeo–Chediski fires on June 28, 2002, as seen from the Landsat 7 satellite
|Location||Coconino and Navajo counties, Arizona|
|Date(s)||June 18, 2002 -July 7, 2002|
|Burned area||468,638 acres (732.247 sq mi; 189,651 ha)|
|Land use||forest, rural|
|Perpetrator(s)||Leonard Gregg, Valinda Jo Elliott|
The Rodeo–Chediski Fire was a wildfire that burned in east-central Arizona beginning on June 18, 2002, and was not controlled until July 7.It was the worst forest fire in Arizona's recorded history until June 14, 2011 when the Wallow Fire surpassed Rodeo-Chediski as the largest fire in Arizona history. Several local communities, including Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, Heber-Overgaard Claysprings and Pinedale, were threatened and had to be evacuated.
A wildfire or wildland fire is a fire in an area of combustible vegetation occurring in rural areas. Depending on the type of vegetation present, a wildfire can also be classified more specifically as a brush fire, bushfire, desert fire, forest fire, grass fire, hill fire, peat fire, vegetation fire, and veld fire.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona, one of the Four Corners states, is bordered by New Mexico to the east, Utah to the north, Nevada and California to the west, and Mexico to the south, as well as the southwestern corner of Colorado. Arizona's border with Mexico is 389 miles (626 km) long, on the northern border of the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.
Recorded history or written history is a historical narrative based on a written record or other documented communication. It contrasts with other narratives of the past, such as mythological, oral or archeological traditions. For broader world history, recorded history begins with the accounts of the ancient world around the 4th millennium BC, and coincides with the invention of writing. For some geographic regions or cultures, written history is limited to a relatively recent period in human history because of the limited use of written records. Moreover, human cultures do not always record all of the information relevant to later historians, such as the full impact of natural disasters or the names of individuals; thus, recorded history for particular types of information is limited based on the types of records kept. Because of this, recorded history in different contexts may refer to different periods of time depending on the topic.
Initially there were two separate fires. The first fire, the Rodeo, was reported on the afternoon of June 18 near the Rodeo Fairgrounds on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation by Cibicue. An arsonist was arrested on June 29 and was later charged. By early evening, around 1,200 acres (1.9 sq mi; 490 ha) were ablaze. Increasing wind speeds fed the fire to over 2,000 acres (3.1 sq mi; 810 ha) by the following morning, and when wind speeds increased to around 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) the fire grew rapidly, increasing fourfold over the next three hours.
The Fort Apache Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation in Arizona, United States, encompassing parts of Navajo, Gila, and Apache counties. It is home to the federally recognized White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, a Western Apache tribe. It has a land area of 2,627 square miles (6,800 km2) and a population of 12,429 people as of the 2000 census. The largest community is in Whiteriver.
The Chediski Fire was first reported on the morning of June 20 near Chediski Peak northwest of Payson. It had been started by a stranded quad runner, Valinda Jo Elliott, trying to signal a news helicopter. Similarly fed by the strong winds, this fire spread to 2,000 acres (3.1 sq mi; 810 ha) by mid-afternoon, and by the following morning it covered over 14,000 acres (22 sq mi; 5,700 ha).
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward, and laterally. These attributes allow helicopters to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft and many forms of VTOL aircraft cannot perform.
By June 21 the Rodeo Fire had consumed around 150,000 acres (230 sq mi; 61,000 ha). Around 8,000 people were evacuated; by the end of the fire, around 30,000 people would be moved. The two burning areas approached through crosswinds over June 21 and June 22 as a further 11,000 people were ordered to leave their homes. The burning areas joined on June 23 having consumed around 300,000 acres (470 sq mi; 120,000 ha) of woodland. The fire's progress slowed after the two merged and by June 26 the fire was 5% contained by backburning, cutting and slurry — protecting the settlements of Clay Springs, Linden and Pinedale, but 460,000 acres (720 sq mi; 190,000 ha) had burned. The fire was 28% contained by June 28, but it was not fully under control until July 7 at a cost of $43.1 million. About 400 homes were destroyed in Pinedale and other small communities. The fire was declared a disaster area. RodeoFire.com was established at the fire's onset as a portal for concerned citizens and family members acting as an event update website.
A controlled or prescribed burn, also known as hazard reduction burning, backfire, swailing, or a burn-off, is a wildfire set intentionally for purposes of forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. A controlled burn may also refer to the intentional burning of slash and fuels through burn piles. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. Hazard reduction or controlled burning is conducted during the cooler months to reduce fuel buildup and decrease the likelihood of serious hotter fires. Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, and reveals soil mineral layers which increases seedling vitality, thus renewing the forest. Some cones, such as those of Lodgepole Pine and Sequoia, are serotinous, as well as many chaparral shrubs, meaning they require heat from fire to open cones to disperse seeds.
Clay Springs is a census-designated place (CDP) in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. Clay Springs is 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Show Low. Clay Springs has a post office with ZIP code 85923.
Linden is an unincorporated community located in Navajo County, Arizona, United States, just west of the city of Show Low. It is situated atop the Mogollon Rim at an elevation of over 6,000 feet. The community was evacuated in June 2002 due to the Rodeo-Chediski fire, which eventually consumed part of Linden, destroying a number of homes.
Of the woodlands affected, 280,992 acres (439.050 sq mi; 113,713 ha) (60.0%) was part of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Of the rest, 167,215 acres (261.273 sq mi; 67,670 ha) (35.7%) was in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and 10,667 acres (16.667 sq mi; 4,317 ha) (2.3%) in the Tonto National Forest. The remaining destruction occurred on private land. The fire damaged or destroyed ecosystem resources, disrupted hydrologic functioning, and altered the loadings of flammable fuels on much of the ponderosa pine forest that was exposed to the burn.
A woodland or wood is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of primary or secondary succession. Higher density areas of trees with a largely closed canopy that provides extensive and nearly continuous shade are referred to as forests.
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are two 2.76-million-acre (11,169 km2) United States National Forests which run along the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains in east-central Arizona and into the U.S. state of New Mexico. Both forests are managed as one unit by USDA Forest Service from the forests Supervisors Office in Springerville, Arizona. Apache-Sitgreaves has over 400 species of wildlife. With its high elevation and cool summer breezes it is a popular weekend destination from the hot desert for Phoenix, Arizona residents. The forest is divided into 5 Ranger Districts that span almost 300 miles (480 km) from Clifton, Arizona in the east-central portion of Arizona to the eastern boundary of the Coconino National Forest in north-central Arizona. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest borders the western and northern borders of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. It is located in parts of Greenlee, Apache, Navajo, and Coconino counties in eastern and east-central Arizona, and Catron County in western New Mexico. The more northwesterly Sitgreaves National Forest portion lies adjacent to the north side of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and is located entirely in Arizona, within Navajo, Apache, and Coconino counties. It has a total area of 818,651 acres (3,313 km2). The more southeasterly and much larger Apache National Forest portion lies adjacent to the east side of the Fort Apache and the San Carlos Indian Reservations. It lies on both sides of the border with New Mexico, in Greenlee, Catron, and Apache counties. It has a total area of 1,813,601 acres (7,339 km2).
The Tonto National Forest, encompassing 2,873,200 acres, is the largest of the six national forests in Arizona and is the fifth largest national forest in the United States. The Tonto National Forest has diverse scenery, with elevations ranging from 1,400 feet in the Sonoran Desert to 7,400 feet in the ponderosa pine forests of the Mogollon Rim. The Tonto National Forest is also the most visited "urban" forest in the United States. The boundaries of the Tonto National Forest are the Phoenix metropolitan area to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian Reservation to the east. The Tonto is managed by the USDA Forest Service and its headquarters are in Phoenix. There are local ranger district offices in Globe, Mesa, Payson, Roosevelt, Scottsdale, and Young.
After the fire, efforts were made to stabilize the landscape by burned area emergency response teams. Waterbars, wattles and K-rails were put in place and there were over two weeks of aerial seeding, dropping around 50,000,000 pounds (23,000 t) of winter wheat or indigenous grass seeds over 180,000 acres (280 sq mi; 73,000 ha).
Burned area emergency response (BAER) is an emergency risk management reaction to post wildfire conditions that pose risks to human life and property or could further destabilize or degrade the burned lands. Even though wildfires are natural events, the presence of people and man-made structures in and adjacent to the burned area frequently requires continued emergency risk management actions. High severity wildfires pose a continuing flood, debris flow and mudflow risk to people living within and downstream from a burned watershed as well as a potential loss of desirable watershed values.
A water bar or interceptor dyke is a road construction feature that is used to prevent erosion on sloping roads, cleared paths through woodland, or other accessways by reducing flow length. It is a diagonal channel across the road that diverts surface water off the road and into a stable drain way. By constructing a series of water bars at intervals along a road, the volume of water flowing down the road is reduced. Without water bars, flooding, washouts, and accelerated road degradation can occur.
Political figures, including Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, blamed the fire on "radical environmentalists" and their opposition to logging to thin the forests.The group, Sierra Club, responded by saying they have long supported the thinning of underbrush and small trees through controlled burns, not the logging of large trees. But this fire, among other devastating drought-year fires in the American West, helped propel new forest management laws, enacted by both the U.S. Congress and local authorities. Of these the most notable is the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law in 2003. Although these policies presented high-profile, short-term solutions, the ecological effects of these policies are hotly debated among forestry experts.
The arsonist, who received a 10-year prison sentence in March 2004, was Leonard Gregg, a Cibecue resident who worked as a seasonal firefighter for the tribal fire department. He told investigators he had set two fires that morning (the first was quickly put out) in hopes of getting hired by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs for a quick-response fire crew. Gregg had previously worked as a BIA fire crew member, and was indeed among the first to be called in to fight the Rodeo Fire.
The stranded motorist, Valinda Jo Elliott, who started the Chediski portion of the fire was not charged with arson by the US Attorney's office, much to the anger of local residents and the tribe. In 2009, a judge ruled that she is eligible to be tried in a civil suit in the White Mountain Apache tribal court.In 2014 the court ruled that she was liable for $1650 in civil penalties and $57,000,000 in restitution to the tribe.
The forest fire Hayman Fire started on June 8, 2002, 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Colorado Springs, Colorado and 95 miles (153 km) southwest of Denver, Colorado and became the largest wildfire in the state's recorded history at over 138,114 acres. See: Colorado wildfires
Cibecue is a census-designated place (CDP) in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. The population was 1713 in the 2010 United States Census.
The Mogollon Rim is a topographical and geological feature cutting across the U.S. state of Arizona. It extends approximately 200 miles (320 km), starting in northern Yavapai County and running eastward, ending near the border with New Mexico. It forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau in Arizona.
The Cave Creek Complex Wildfire was the third largest forest fire in the state of Arizona to date, after the Rodeo-Chediski fire and Wallow Fire.
The Biscuit Fire was a massive wildfire in 2002 that burned nearly 500,000 acres in the Rogue River–Siskiyou National Forest, in southern Oregon and northern California, in the Western United States. The fire was named after Biscuit Creek in southern Oregon. The Biscuit Fire was the largest wildfire in the recorded history of Oregon. The Biscuit Fire area is subject to warm, dry winds known as the Brookings effect, driven by high pressure over the Great Basin. The fire re-burned portions of the 1987 Silver Fire and subsequently burned in the 2017 Chetco Bar Fire.
The Cerro Grande Fire was a disastrous forest fire in New Mexico, United States of America, that occurred in May 2000. The fire started as a controlled burn, and became uncontrolled owing to high winds and drought conditions. Over 400 families in the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, lost their homes in the resulting 150,000-acre fire. Structures at Los Alamos National Laboratory were also destroyed or damaged, although without loss or destruction of any of the special nuclear material housed there. There was no loss of human life. The US General Accounting Office estimated total damages at $1 billion.
The Rattlesnake Fire was a wildfire started by an arsonist on July 9, 1953, in Grindstone Canyon on the Mendocino National Forest in northern California. The wildfire killed one Forest Service employee and 14 volunteer firefighters from the New Tribes Mission, and burned over 1,300 acres (530 ha) before it was controlled on July 11, 1953. It became and remains to this day a well-known firefighting textbook case on fatal wildland fires.
Forest Lakes is a small unincorporated community in Coconino County in the northern part of the U.S. state of Arizona. It is located on the edge of the Mogollon Rim and is in close proximity to several recreational lakes within the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, and is named for such.
Black Canyon Lake is a lake in Navajo County, Arizona, United States.
The 2009 California wildfires were a series of 9,159 wildfires that were active in the US state of California, during the year 2009. The fires burned more than 422,147 acres of land from early February through late November, due to Red Flag conditions, destroying hundreds of structures, injuring 134 people, and killing four. The wildfires also caused at least US$134.48 million in damage. Although the fires burned many different regions of California in August, the month was especially notable for several very large fires which burned in Southern California, despite being outside of the normal fire season for that region.
The Horseshoe 2 Fire was a 2011 wildfire located along the southeastern flank of the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona. It began in Horseshoe Canyon on the Douglas Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest on May 8, 2011, at approximately 11:00 a.m. The fire was started by human activities, and burned over 9,000 acres in its first day. By June 1, 2011, the fire had burned an area of over 80,500 acres of grasses, shrubs, and trees along the mountain slopes. By June 8, it had grown to 106,661 acres. By June 17, the fire was 65% contained and had become the fifth-largest wildfire in Arizona history. 100% containment was achieved on June 25 after a total area of 222,954 acres had burned.
The Wallow Fire, named for the Bear Wallow Wilderness area where the fire originated, was a massive wildfire that started in the White Mountains near Alpine, Arizona on May 29, 2011. The fire eventually spread across the stateline into western New Mexico, United States. By the time the fire was contained on July 8, it had consumed 538,049 acres (2,177 km2) of land, 522,642 acres (2,115 km2) in Arizona and 15,407 acres (62 km2) in New Mexico.
The 2012 Colorado wildfires were an unusually devastating series of Colorado wildfires, including several separate fires that occurred throughout June, July, and August 2012. At least 34,500 residents were evacuated in June.
The School Fire was a wildfire that occurred in the US state of Washington in August 2005. The fire originated in the Umatilla National Forest in southeastern Washington, in Columbia and Garfield Counties. The School Fire was detected from space by NASA's Terra satellite. The fire burned around 51,892.13 acres, destroying over 100 houses and 100 outbuildings. The largest wildfire of 2005 in the contiguous United States, the School Fire's smoke was seen as far away as Walla Walla. Its total damage was estimated at $15 million.
In the summer of 2013, there were several major wildfires in Colorado in the United States. During June and July, record high temperatures and dry conditions fueled the fires all across the state. By July 24, 570 structures had been destroyed and 2 lives were lost. Below is a list of the major fires of the year.
The Ponderosa Fire was a devastating fire during the 2012 California wildfire season. While the fire only burned 27,676 acres (11,200 ha) it destroyed 133 structures making it the most destructive fire of the year. At the height of the fire, on August 24, over 2,300 firefighters were involved with the effort which included 254 fire engines, 46 bulldozers and 54 water tenders.
The Rattlesnake Fire was a wildfire that started on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation on April 11, 2018 and expanded into the San Carlos Indian Reservation and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona in the United States. The fire burned a total of 26,072 acres (106 km2). The cause of the fire remains unknown.
The Roosevelt Fire is a wildfire in Bridger-Teton National Forest in the U.S. state of Wyoming. The ignition point was near the head of the Hoback River in the Wyoming Range 32 miles (51 km) south of the town of Jackson, Wyoming. The fire was reported by a hunting party on September 15, 2018; the party attempted to leave the area on September 16, but ideal fire conditions allowed for rapid growth and two of them were forced to jump into a creek to escape the flames. The hunters, a father and son, were transported to a local hospital then to a burn center in Salt Lake City. By Monday September 17, the fire had moved several miles east, triggering evacuations in residential areas northwest of Pinedale, Wyoming in its path. By September 18, the fire was moving northeast, prompting the evacuation of the Hoback Ranches subdivision south of the town of Bondurant for a total of 230 homes evacuated. By the morning of September 19, the fire had expanded to over 25,000 acres (10,000 ha).. As of September 20, the fire began to burn outside the national forest to the edge of the Hoback Ranches; and was 3 mi (4.8 km) west of U.S. Route 189/191, leading officials to declare that further encroachment toward the highway would lead them to shut down a section of it for public safety. By September 21, more than a half dozen helicopters were assigned to and several air tankers were dropping retardant on the fire which was reported to have grown to 34,411 acres (13,926 ha). On September 23 the fire was spreading rapidly to the east and north forcing authorities to close a fifty mile stretch of U.S. route 189/191 from mile marker 110 to 160 to clear the road for evacuations underway, however the highway was reopened the following day.