Whiskey Fire to produce large amounts of smoke

Contact(s): Coconino National Forest, 928-526-0866

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Sept. 10, 2019 – Beginning Wednesday, firefighters plan to conduct burnout operations on the fire management boundary of the Whiskey Fire along Forest Road 231 to protect areas and ensure the active wildfire stays in its containment area.


The fire is burning approximately 8 miles west of Turkey Butte Lookout within the footprint of the 2014 Slide Fire in approximately 140 acres.


Fire activity and smoke impacts will increase in the immediate area through Thursday, in downwind communities and in the Flagstaff area as dozens of firefighters burn fuel on the management boundary reinforcing the wildfire containment.


Forest Road 231 will be closed at the intersection of FR 536 (near Phone Booth Tank) all the way south to the intersection of FR 231A. The closure is expected to begin Wednesday (Sept. 11) and last two to three days in efforts to provide firefighter and public safety. However, the closure could last longer if necessary to safely continue vital operations. Persons planning to travel in this area should expect delays and use the alternate routes identified at closure points.


Fire personnel are planning to cease or reduce burnout operations over the weekend to reduce smoke impacts to the area. However, no perfect weather condition exist to remove smoke impacts entirely from a fire.


This lightning-started fire is being used to slowly consume forest debris, turning the forest floor fuels into nutrients and reduces the risk of a more severe high-intensity wildfire in the future. The Ponderosa pine forest thrives on low- to moderate-severity fire.


Smoke may affect areas including Flagstaff, Munds Park, Mountainaire, Kachina, Forest Highlands, Doney Park, Mormon Lake Village, Highway 89A Corridor, Sedona, Village of Oak Creek and portions of Interstate 40.


For more information, including smoke forecasts for the Whiskey Fire, updates concerning closures and notable fire activity please visit the Whiskey Fire InciWeb site https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6580/ Quick updates will also be provided on the Coconino National Forest’s Twitter and Facebook sites, and the Forest’s website at www.coconinonationalforest.us





  • Discovery date: Sept. 2, 2019.


  • Cause: Lightning.


  • Containment: 0 percent.


  • Current size: 140 acres.


  • Current resources: Four engines, one fuels crew, one dozer, one fire prevention unit, and various firefighting personnel. Approximately 37 people.


  • Predicted smoke impacts: Large amounts of smoke produced over the next few days, impacting Flagstaff, Lake Mary and Kachina Village. Communities at lower elevations, such as Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona and Village of Oak Creek may also experience smoke impacts in the evening and overnight as smoke drains into those areas. Firefighter, public safety, and ecosystem health remain the top priorities for fire managers while keeping the fire within the planning area. Smoke may appear thicker at times due to burnout operations or as the wildfire consumes larger trees. This is normal.


  • Current closures: Expected closures around the fire area is anticipated and parts of forest roads in the area may be closed periodically to allow for safe firefighting operations.


  • Recent and current operations: Wildland firefighting crews are conducting burnout operations to ensure it remains in the planning area. Current operations are taking place along Forest Roads near FR 231.

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