(KFYI News) – The San Juan wildfire, burning about 15 miles east of Show Low in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, had chewed through 5,000 acres by Saturday morning.
Incident commanders announced that the fire had not grown overnight, thanks to light winds. However, the blaze still had zero containment as crews planned to continue setting controlled burns in the fire's path in an effort to stop its spread.
Fire information officer Bill Morse said that while winds were expected to be lighter on Saturday than they were on Friday or on Thursday, when the blaze was discovered around noon, incident commanders were also concerned that there was less moisture than there had been.
"It's getting drier," he said. "Seventeen percent humidity today. The fuels – the brush, the trees – we're talking five percent humidity. Kiln-dried wood is usually seven to eight percent. Everything's ready to burn.
He added that the situation facing firefighters could get worse early in the week. "Looking down the road a little bit, by Tuesday or Wednesday, we're looking at a lot of potential for dry lightning storms as the monsoon pattern starts beginning to kick in," which he says could start new fires.
As of Saturday morning, Morse said, aproximately 25 people were evacuated, including about 12 full-time residents. He said 90 structures were threatened, depending on which direction the fire moves.
He announced that 502 personnel were assigned to the blaze, which is believed to have started in an unimproved campground, suggesting it was human-caused, although an exact cause has not been identified.