Clints Well-area roads to temporarily close as Wolf Fire operations continue

Release Date: 

Contact(s): Coconino National Forest Public Affairs Email: 2024.wolf@firenet.gov Phone: 928-


State Route 87 to close Friday due to expected smoke impact

 

HAPPY JACK, Ariz., May 9, 2024 —— Fire and road managers plan to temporarily close some area roads as ignitions continue on the Wolf Fire located about 3 miles northwest of Clints Well on the Coconino National Forest’s Mogollon Rim Ranger District.

The Wolf Fire Incident Management Team and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) will temporarily close a portion of state Route (SR) 87 beginning at 6 a.m. Friday, May 10, during firing operations.

SR 87 will close in both directions between the SR 260 junction at milepost 278.5 and the Lake Mary Road junction at milepost 290.5. Multiple detour options, including SR 260 and Interstate 17, will remain available.

Motorists are advised to check road status prior to traveling via ADOT’s road status website at az511.gov, the AZ511 app or by calling 511.

While fire managers plan to lift the road closure late Friday as soon as it is safe to do so, intermittent closures of SR 87 and other roads, such as Lake Mary Road, may occur throughout fire management should smoke impede roadway visibility.

Road closures are instituted in the interest of public and firefighter safety.

Forest visitors are advised to check forest road status via the Coconino National Forest’s website at coconinonationalforest.us prior to traveling on forest roads.

Speed limits in the Wolf Fire area have been temporarily reduced to allow for firefighter and public safety. Motorists are asked to abide by all posted signage and remain cognizant of fire personnel working in the area.

A closure order remains in place for the area surrounding the fire, as does a temporary flight restriction. Drone operators are asked to abide by the issued restrictions.

The Northern Arizona Type 3 Incident Management Team assumed management of the Wolf Fire on Monday, May 6.

There are roughly 150 personnel assigned to the Wolf Fire, including two Hotshot crews, nine engines, one dozer and one hand crew.

The Wolf Fire is currently 1,616 acres, and fire managers plan to treat roughly 11,000 total acres of forest land over the coming weeks during the fire management process.

Lightning-caused fires allow an opportunity for land treatment: The removal of forest fuels – such as pine needle accumulation, dead and down trees and other dry plant matter – that create hazardous conditions that could lead to potential catastrophic wildfire.

Naturally-ignited fires work similarly to prescribed fires in that they allow fire managers to help fire fulfill its natural role in the northern Arizona ecosystem.

Land treatment using fire is an important part of the Forest Service’s 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which aims to reduce the risk of wildfire to critical infrastructure and communities.

As part of the overall Wildfire Crisis Strategy, the Coconino National Forest is committed to restoring land and protecting watersheds – including work on the Cragin Watershed Protection Project – as part of the wider Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI).

Throughout the fire management process, fire managers will employ a strategic, risk-based response that is appropriate for changing conditions on the ground. This response will use a full range of management actions that consider fire and fuel conditions, weather, values at risk and resource availability.

Smoke is an unavoidable byproduct of land restoration work and wildfire. While early spring wind patterns typically funnel smoke upward for a wider distribution that will lessen smoke impact to nearby communities, area residents and visitors should be prepared for lingering smoke in the Wolf Fire area. More information is available at airnow.gov.