On June 25, 1990, a dry lightning storm triggered a fire beneath the Mogollon Rim about 10 miles northeast of Payson, Arizona and on Dude Creek. The wildfire occurred on one of the hottest days ever recorded at the Payson Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest. The fire was reported, the Payson helitack crew responded, a first air tanker dropped water but every effort to get the fire controlled failed that first day.
Tragically 28,480 acres burned in 2 national forests, 63 homes were destroyed and six firefighters were killed over the next ten days. One of those homes was the historic "Zane Gray cabin". The Payson museum has a wealth of information on the fire, displays a firefighter tribute for those who lost their lives on local wildfires and has recreated the Zane Gray Cabin.