Behind-the-scenes look at Wallow Fire damage and burn-out operations in Alpine

ALPINE, AZ - Firefighters took an ABC15 crew behind checkpoints Friday to see burn-out operations to protect Nutrioso and Alpine property, as well as damage the Wallow Fire has already caused.

The fire crews took advantage of the day's light winds to try to get more containment on the blaze.

Several crews along US Route 180 used chainsaws, shovels and axes to clear away brush and drip torches to start controlled fires.

Controlled fires eat up the flammable material around property and homes to protect them from the uncontrolled flames.

These backburning operations have been successful in starving the fire so far, firefighters said.

Despite a scorched appearance caused by intentionally burned back fields, nearly all of Alpine's buildings appear unharmed.

However, the forest south of Alpine is badly burned in places, with pine trees reduced to nothing more than charred sticks. The terrain looks more like the lunar surface than the lush green forest it was just two weeks ago.

Although pockets of the forest are severely damaged, fire crews said they are proud of what they have been able to save.

"To see those portions and pockets of the forest that have been saved made me feel really good," said firefighter Stephen Miller. "They're working the lines, they're digging, they're clearing the way."

Winds have dropped over the past two days, but high winds are expected to return Saturday.
 

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