Sunday expected to be a challenging day for crews fighting the Cedar Fire near Show Low

Posted at 11:11 PM, Jun 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-19 15:13:05-04

The fight to control the Cedar Fire is expected to have some tough challenges Sunday. 

Officials say Sunday is expected to be the hottest and driest day of the season, with record breaking temperatures and low humidity. All of those factors add up to very rough day for firefighters.

Officials are reporting the blaze is now 40 percent contained thanks to a combined effort from pilots and hotshots alike, who had a strong day Saturday battling the blaze. The fire is covering 12,140 acres. Highway 73 has reopened as of Sunday at noon. 

SEAT pilot Wayne Paul Grieff is in one of the many in Show Low dropping hundreds of gallons of retardant throughout the day. He’s been fighting fires from the air for more than 14 years. 

"I actually think it looks better today. They're doing a major burnout and we were supporting some dozier lines just to help boots on the ground and it looks a lot better,” said Grieff.

SEAT stands for “single engine air tanker.” Grieff flies to the fire lines and back in about 23 minutes and keeps going until sundown. He says it’s the mission that drives him.

"If they say “v-off” this house or whatever might be in danger just to get the job done. Everyone's about self preservations. You don't wanna go in there and you know be extremely dangerous and it's a dangerous job and it's gratifying."

Grieff has Saturday off but will be back in the air on Father’s Day. There hasn’t been much time off for him lately. Last week he was in Yarnell fighting the Tenderfoot Fire. 

Weather should be more of a help Monday and into the week, with temperatures expected to cool in the area and possible rain in the forecast.