Museum Fire update: Heavy air component expected today

Release Date: Jul 22, 2019

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., July 22, 2019 – Wildland firefighters are using every available aerial platform in the southwest region on a wildfire in the Dry Lake Hills area north of Flagstaff today.

The Museum Fire, currently about 1,000 acres, was very active overnight. Crews were not able to conduct burnout operations due to the activity and the fire spotting ahead of itself, but took indirect suppression tactics where they could.

The fire was flanked with retardant and water from more than a dozen aircraft Sunday in an effort to keep it in the Schultz Pass area and limit its spread north and south. Spotting was noted toward the east, and hand crews are working to create a fire line to work on containment that ties in with aerial suppression.

Fire managers will be using direct and indirect tactics to suppress the fire today. A heavy air component is expected as the objectives are to keep the fire east and south of Forest Road 420 (Schultz Pass Road), west of U.S. Highway 89, and north of the Pipeline Road and those communities. 

Drones of any kind are prohibited from flying over the area. When an unidentified aircraft, manned or unmanned, is sighted in the fire area, all air operations must shut down immediately. This poses significant risk to fire personnel and suspends crucial air suppression tactics. If any member of the public sees someone launching a drone, please call 911. The public should also stay out of the fire area for public and firefighter safety. 

Heavy smoke will be visible from Flagstaff and other local communities. The public should use extreme caution when driving on U.S. Highways 180 and 89 north of Flagstaff and stay out of the fire area.

Updates about the Museum Fire, acreage, and latest activity will be found daily on Inciweb and posted on the Coconino National Forest Twitter and Facebook social media sites.


  • Discovery date: July 12, 2019.
  • Cause: Under investigation.
  • Origin location: About 1 mile north of Flagstaff (Latitude/Longitude: 35° 15.752N, 111° 38.753W).
  • Current size: Approximately 1,000 acres.
  • Current resources: Seven engines, four fuels hand crews, three Interagency Hotshot Crews, three Type-1 helicopters, two Type-III helicopters, four heavy fixed wing aircraft, four single engine air tankers, an air attack aircraft, three lead aircraft, a very large air tanker (VLAT), six patrols, and miscellaneous overhead personnel. Total personnel: approximately 200.
  • Additional resources ordered: 10 Hotshot crews, 20 engines, six dozers, four water tenders
  • Predicted smoke impacts: Significant smoke will impact the Flagstaff area and communities east of Flagstaff. Smoke will settle in low lying areas of Flagstaff and surrounding areas during the cooler hours and lift as the day warms up.
  • Current closures: Little Elden Spring Campground, various trails within the fire area, and a portion of the Arizona Trail within the fire area, which will be rerouted as needed.