Fires Update May 31, 2016: Cowboy, Mormon, Pivot Rock, and Jack managed wildfires

Contact(s): Coconino National Forest Supervisor's Office 928-527-3600, Media Contact: George Jozens 928-527-3412, Media Contact: Brady Smith 928-527-3490


Flagstaff, Arizona — Fire managers with the Coconino National Forest continue to utilize lightning-caused wildfires to reduce forest fuels, while actively protecting values in the area such as power lines, communities, archaeological sites and sensitive habitats.

This will be the last update for the Cowboy Fire, as fire managers have decided to completely suppress the fire, minimizing smoke impacts to the interstate and surrounding communities. This fire was instrumental in clearing approximately 2,170 acres of forest fuels just south of Mountainaire, and will help to protect the community of Mountainaire, Munds Park and Flagstaff from severe wildfires.

“We engage wildfires in ways that reduce risk to firefighter and public safety, property, infrastructure, and valuable natural and cultural resources,” said Duane Tewa, fire staff officer for the Coconino National Forest. “When conditions are right, we manage all or part of some lightning-caused fires to reduce hazardous fuels, improve habitat, and achieve other important natural resource management objectives. Unfortunately, smoke is a part of wildfires, but it is very important to allow fire to play its necessary role in the ecosystem to help prevent severe wildfires and cultivate healthy habitats.”

In addition to the Mormon and Pivot Rock fires, fire managers are now actively managing the Jack Fire—a lightning-caused wildfire that began on May 29, located approximately 14 miles north of Clints Well.

Information and details about the fires, including their objectives, will be updated on Inciweb. Quick updates will also be provided on @CoconinoNF on Twitter, so please follow us if you would like to be updated as information is received. The public can report smoke impacts online.

 

JACK FIRE OVERVIEW

  • Start Date: May 29, 2016
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Location: About 14 miles north of Clints Well on the east side of Lake Mary Road, along Forest Roads 294 and 294C.
  • Current Size: Approximately 320 acres.
  • Resources: 1-Type 3 engine, 3-Type 6 engines, and various firefighting individuals, totaling 30 personnel.
  • Smoke: Smoke will be visible from Lake Mary Road as well as the communities of Clints Well, Happy Jack, Payson, Pine, Strawberry and the Verde Valley. Light winds are expected out of the northwest in the afternoon at 10 mph.  At night, light smoke from the fire is expected to settle into low areas and nearby canyons, Blue Ridge neighborhoods and the Clear Creek communities. 
  • Closures: None at this time.  Motorists in the area of the fire are encouraged to slow down, as firefighters and equipment will be working in the area.
  • Recent & Current Operations: Burnout operations and other suppression tactics will be used to protect powerlines that are within one mile of the fire.  These firing operations are to protect important sensitive wildlife, culture significant sights and other values which may be at risk such as the powerlines, surrounding communities and private property in the area.

 

 

MORMON FIRE OVERVIEW

  • Start Date: May 15, 2016.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Location: Six miles east of Munds Park near Mormon Mountain.
  • Current Size: Approximately 2,167 acres.
  • Resources: 1-Type 3 Helicopter, 2-Type 1 crews (Mormon Lake and Plumas), 1-Type 2 Incident Attack crews (Coconino Fuels), 1-Type 3 engine, 3-Type 6 engines, 1-dozer, and 20 other personnel. Total personnel is approximately 120.
  • Smoke: Burnout operations began this morning just after 10 a.m. and produced visible smoke. Smoke may settle in drainages and valleys at night, including Mormon Lake, Munds Park and Sedona. Smoke will disperse during the day to the south, southeast at 10-15 mph. Smoke impacts along the Lake Mary Road and Mormon Lake recreation corridor will be possible. This includes campgrounds, day-use areas, Walnut Canyon National Monument, and many trails in the area, to include the Arizona Trail. Communities north and northeast of the wildfire, including east Flagstaff, Doney Park and Winona, may experience smoke impacts. Over the weekend, an unexpected wind shift reversed the smoke direction, which impacted Munds Park and Sedona.
  • Closures: The closure area for the Mormon Fire is between Mormon Lake and Munds Park, north of the intersections of Forest Roads 700 and 240. View Forest Order 04-16-07-F Mormon Fire Closure for details and map. Drivers in the area are strongly advised to use caution as fire fighters are on foot and several vehicles are operating in the burn area. 
  • Recent & Current Operations:  Burnout operations occurred east and south of Antelope Park yesterday.  Firing operations by helicopter and firefighters with drip torches occurred today.  Hand ignitions by drip torch will occur from Antelope Park going west along FR 9041P road to the junction of FR 9410.  Helicopter operations will be used to strengthen the fire lines on the east side of the fire from Antelope Park to the southern boundary of the fire.  The burnout operations will help protect important values on the north and northeast portions of the fire, including the Mormon Mountain communication towers, sensitive wildlife and watersheds in the area. 

 

 

PIVOT ROCK FIRE OVERVIEW

  • Start Date: May 19, 2016.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Location: About three miles northeast of the junction of State Routes 260 and 87; eight miles northeast of Strawberry.
  • Current Size: Approximately 3,708 acres.
  • Resources: 1-Type 1 crew, 2-Type 3 engines, 6-Type 6 engines, 1-dozer, 1-Water Tender, and various firefighting individuals, totaling 90 personnel.
  • Smoke: Smoke will be visible from SR 260 and 87 as well as the communities of Payson, Pine, Strawberry, the Verde Valley and Happy Jack. Over the weekend, an unexpected wind shift reversed the smoke direction, which impacted the Verde Valley, Cornville and Cottonwood.
  • Light winds are expected out of the northwest in the afternoon at 10 mph and currently the smoke is dispersing throughout the I-17 corridor, Munds Park, and Sedona areas this morning.  At night, light smoke from the Pivot Rock Fire is expected to settle into low areas and nearby canyons, including the I-17 corridor, Munds Park, and Sedona, Toms Creek, Clover Canyon, Pivot Rock Canyon and into West Clear Creek.
  • Closures: The closure area for this fire is north of the intersections of SR 260 and 87. View Forest Order 04-16-06-F Pivot Rock Fire Closure for details and map. The closure boundary will be expanded from FR 149 to 144, west of SR 260, south to SR 87, and north to FR 149 to cover planned operations.  Motorists in the area of the fire are encouraged to slow down, as firefighters and equipment will be working in the area.
  • Recent & Current Operations: Burnout operations occurred along Forest Road 142 along the complete northern portion of the fire during the weekend.  The burnout operations will continue today along the western portion of the fire and Forest Road 149 near Duncan Canyon. These firing operations are to protect important sensitive wildlife, culture significant sights and other values which may be at risk.

 

 

COWBOY FIRE FINAL UPDATE

  • Start Date: May 17, 2016.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Location: Approximately eight miles south of Flagstaff, near milepost 331 on the immediate east side of Interstate 17.
  • Current Size: Approximately 2,170 acres.
  • Resources: 1-Type 3 engine and various firefighter personnel. A total of approximately 9 people.
  • Smoke: Smoke from this wildfire may impact I-17 near the Kelly Canyon Road and Newman Park exits, but the smoke will be very light due to the low activity of this fire currently. This fire will likely continue to smolder internally where it has already burned but no new growth is expected on this fire.
  • Closures: None currently. Motorists in the area should use caution and slow down while driving on forest roads near the fire, as fire personnel and equipment will be present.
  • Recent & Current Operations: Fire behavior is minimal with some creeping and burning internally of grass, stumps and logs. The fire area is not expected to grow in size.  Operations are switching over to rehabilitation efforts on this fire.  Arizona Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol officers will be monitoring smoke and traffic along I-17. The posted speed limits may be lowered on the interstate along the fire perimeter for public safety.

 

 

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