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New activity on Polles Fire burning near Payson drops containment to 80%

(Twitter Photo/@TontoNF)

PHOENIX – The lightning-caused Polles Fire burning west of Payson has burned 647 acres and dropped to 80% contained Saturday evening.

Gusty winds and thunderstorm activity in the area rekindled the blaze.

The fire was 95% on Saturday morning and had burned 572 acres.

The Southwest Area Incident Management Team was going to transition control of the fire back to the Tonto National Forest Saturday evening, but the growth of fire activity changed that decision.

Fire managers continue to monitor the fire activity given the terrain, fuels and extreme heat in the area.

The incident left one pilot, 37-year-old Bryan Boatman, dead after his helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances Tuesday when he was delivering supplies to crews.

A procession took place Friday, transporting his body from the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office in Florence to a funeral chapel in Peoria in metro Phoenix.

A memorial service is planned, but there were no details available Friday.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman has said the FAA and the National Transportation Board would investigate the crash.

The Tonto National Forest has a closure in effect across the forest through at least July 31 to prevent new human caused fires.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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