“We can’t forget them.”, “It was a relief to see our home again. Arizona wildfire forecast: Conditions in place for 'disastrous season'. “It’s still hard to see this five years later,” Eagar said. As of Tuesday afternoon, the fire is 0 percent contained. That means we’re healing.”. Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. The fire was started accidentally by two … © 2014 The Arizona Republic | azcentral A Gannett company. “Greer is black. Its restaurant menu is marinated in the area’s history of ranching and hunting of the woodland game and fish. There will be no Greer anymore,” Bob Combs said he was told. As he was locking up, a fire engine pulled up and the crew promised to keep their home safe, Bob Combs recalled. An unattended campfire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests ignited what would become the largest recorded wildfire in Arizona history. The home’s rock foundation lay strewn nearby, housing weeds, young seedlings and crawling insects that were the cabin's new residents. Crews would lay down fire retardants, but in less than 15 minutes’ time it would burn up, “just like that,” Eagar said, snapping his fingers. June 7, 2011, Pat Shannahan, The Republic | azcentral.com. It’s devastating to see the dead trees in and around Greer, and it still hits us when we see the bare mountains.”. Harriet Barker, 68, recalled how she saw a map of the community and that a big dark “X” that had been placed over a square representing her family’s cabin. When it did, it drove the fire like an enormous bellows, Eagar explained. You’ve got two or three years to get the burned trees or they start to blue,” he said, explaining that the bark’s changing hue indicates that a tree is rotting. Currently, the American Red Cross is meeting the emergency needs of wildfire evacuees staying in shelters. Ever since, I can’t stop saying thanks and showing my gratitude,” she said. The post-burn 2-year peak flows are 1.1 to 208 times greater than pre-burn peak flows. “But you can see how hot it burned right here,” Eagar said, pointing above. Do you want award-winning journalism with a Christian worldview, delivered to your inbox? Carole Combs left with Princess, their gray tabby cat, as her husband did a final sweep of their home, shutting down the power and water. “We’re staying positive and looking ahead.”, “This village took a drastic hit from the fire, but we’re on the up. More than 40 outside agencies came to Greer to assist in the evacuation process, said Beverly Parks, a member of the Apache County Sheriff's Office emergency management team. These basins impacted by the Wallow Fire are expected to see 2-year post-burn peak flows that range from 255 to 8,833 cfs (Figures 6-8). From there on, it was a nightmare.”. Ask Chuck: Should I buy a house in this booming market? 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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 owners were preparing to reopen one of Greer's iconic business in two days’ time. “We appreciate all the hard and dangerous work they did,” Bob Combs said of those who saved their house. “It didn’t look good at all," he said. Cause of Fire. In 2002, the colossal blaze known as the Rodeo-Chediski fire burned more than 460,000 acres in east-central Arizona. Deputy Bevington said, “The Wallow Fire was a wake-up call for everyone. Wallow Wildfire Forest Service BAER Team plus additional basins requested by Apache County. We had to be hopeful.”. The firefighting effort cost more than $79 million. The Wallow Fire started on May 29 as a small fire but started ballooning in size last Wednesday night. The embers glowed hot as they were reheated and blown out of the pit. Please click here to learn how. In the neighboring towns where members of the Greer community, including Bob and Carol Combs, had sought shelter, the stories spread. “It was devastating.”. The trees that sprang from the ashes contrasted with a backdrop of the scorched trees in the mountains above, where the heat had been so strong that it destroyed the ecosystem. We’re looking at maybe 500 acres just here, out of the total 538,000. The Wallow fire burns toward Eagar and away from Greer. “I still feel it. On Wednesday, Irene Tilford, 47, and Sandy Kerszykowski, 51, stood on the balcony of the Molly Butler Lodge Restaurant. The problem with the initial attack, he said, was the wilderness area in which the fire had ignited. June 10, 2011, Rob Schumacher, The Republic | azcentral.com. “That in itself would not cause power outages here in Tucson, but it would make us more vulnerable to outages in the event something else occurs,” said Joe Salkowski of Tucson Electric Power. Firefighters had been able to save most of the structure; only an outbuilding and the southern wall had burned. To enjoy our website, you'll need to enable JavaScript in your web browser. The firefighting effort cost more than $79 million. Fire officials said the unrelenting wildfire’s total destruction is 311,481 acres. The experienced campers had believed their campfire was out when they left the site. “The next day I got up and headed to where the smoke was. Chris Wolfe, 26, was living in Phoenix in 2011 when the Wallow Fire roared through the community he had visited frequently while growing up. It had been saved from the greedy clutches of the fire, which was contained just a quarter-mile away. As of Tuesday afternoon, the fire is 0 percent contained. 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