US 60 Re-opened After Fire at Forest Energy Pellet Plant

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Arizona - A fire is currently burning at the Forest Energy pellet plant just outside of Show Low but crews appear to have gained the upper hand. The closure of U.S. 60 between Show Low and Springerville has been lifted and the road is now open.

At around 12:40 p.m. today, U.S. 60 was closed to traffic between Show Low and Springerville beginning at the intersection of US 60 and SR 77 and extending out to Bourdon Ranch Road.

Officials said the fire had been making some progress toward a propane business located near the pellet plant. As of 2:51 p.m., State Fire Management officials were on scene and slurry was dropped on the area between the energy plant and the propane tanks. The tanks are safe and the fire has been contained to the log piles located on the property.

Early reports from the scene indicated all of the log piles were engaged but the plant building itself was never involved.

All businesses near the pellet plant on the east side were evacuated. Residential neighborhoods were not evacuated. Only those businesses to the east of the plant were evacuated.

Officials had drawn what they called an "imaginary line" between the pellet plant and the local propane business. They said if the line was crossed by the flames, everyone on scene would be evacuated.

A water tender was called to firefight along with Linden fire's large tank which has aided in the efforts. Officials with Linden, Concho, Vernon, Lakeside and Show Low Fire are working the blaze along with Forest Service officials and DPS. ADOT is also on scene and APS has cut power to the area.

US Forest Service official Dave Reisner said the Bitter Root Hotshots were also made available and a type 6 engine patrolled the area for possible hot spots extending into forested areas. A dozer was also on hand.

Moderate winds fanned the flames earlier in the day somewhat complicating efforts. At this time the winds have died down.

The cause of the fire isn't immediately clear.

Story provided by:  www.wmicentral.com