Arizona Wildfires Update as of 6/24/2021

Rock Butte Fires

The five fires being managed by the Arizona Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management team are the following from north to south – all acreages are approximate and current as of 6/23, 20:00:

  • Red Hat Fire – 49 acres – 100% containment
  • Limestone Fire – 33 acres – 100% containment
  • Spring Fire – 567 acres – 42% containment
  • Rock Butte Fire – 126 acres – 0% containment
  • Silent Fire – 27 acre – 0% containment

Location: North of Paulden, AZ and west of HWY 89.

The moisture and higher relative humidity subdued fire behavior on all 5 fires. Crews were able to get 100% containment on the Red Hat and Limestone Fires, and 42% containment on the Spring Fire. Crews will continue to patrol and monitor both the Silent and Rock Butte Fires. Interior fuels on the Spring Fire continue to burn and smoke may be visible.

Yesterday’s storms brought some much-needed relief for crews on the Rock Butte Fires. With considerable rain and lightning on the fire area, crews were brought off the line for their safety. This gave them a chance to regroup physically and mentally. This reprieve gave the crews the opportunity to recharge their stamina for both this assignment as well as the next assignment.

 Management of the Rafael Fire has been transitioned to a Dave Bale’s Southwest Area Type I Incident Management Team 2 which will be based in Flagstaff.

NOTE NEW NUMBERs for the Rafael Fire:   Public Number – 928-421-4579

CLOSURES: The Kaibab , Coconino, and  Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests have implemented full Forest Closures.  Tomorrow the Prescott National Forest will implement a Forest Closure. Also, on Friday, the Tonto National Forest will Implement a Stage 3 Forest Closure with some lakes, roads and recreation areas that will remain accessible.

For fire restriction information around Arizona, visit: https://wildlandfire.az.gov/fire-restrictions

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Rafael Fire

Acres: 36,000

Percent Containment: 0%

Date/Time Detected: Friday, 06/18/2021 at 1927 MST

Structures Damaged/Destroyed: 0

Number of Personnel: 199

Cause: Lightning

Origin/Location: 4 miles north of Perkinsville

The Rafael Fire has advanced into Sycamore Canyon and moved on top to the Mogollon Rim on both the Kaibab National Forest on Sycamore Point and Coconino National Forests near Casner Mountain. On the Prescott National Forest, the southwest corner of the fire has not advanced west or south for the last two days. Yesterday to the north on the Kaibab and Coconino National Forests, fire crews identified road systems to utilize as fire line to stop the spread north and westward towards identified values at risk.  On the southeast portion of the fire in Sycamore Canyon and the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, crews are identifying fire line locations for direct and indirect suppression actions.

Personnel from the incoming Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team 2 shadowed members of the Arizona Central West Zone Type 3 Team to transfer information and gain situational awareness of the Rafael fire.  Type 1 Team 2 assumed management of the fire this morning at 6 a.m.  Today, the fire is expected to move north in Sycamore Canyon near Dorsey Spring and east into Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area, where vegetation and topography are in alignment.  Fire fighters on the north end of the fire will continue with suppression efforts and prepare for future firing operations using road systems and natural features and will utilize aircraft to support these actions. In the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area, fire crews will continue to scout for future suppression lines.

 Evacuation status as of 6 a.m. June 24:

“GO” in Coconino County, areas around Sycamore Canyon and SOUTH of Forest Service Road 535 off FS 231. In Yavapai County, some rural ranches in the area of North FSR 525 and Bill Grey Road, West of Sedona.

“SET” – in Coconino County, all areas south of 1-40, west of I-17, to include University Heights, Kachina Village, Forest Highlands, Pine Dell, & Woody Mountain Road, Camp Navajo, South Garland Prairie, Pine Aire Estates and residents in between. In Yavapai County, Grey Mountain and Bear Mountain areas.

“READY” -none at this time. Notifications can change rapidly. Residents in areas affected by the fire should remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate. Evacuation notifications are issued when danger is imminent and life threatening.

 Information about evacuation status can be found on the Coconino County Emergency Management’s Facebook page at:   https://www.facebook.com/coconinoEM/  and at the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/YavapaiCountySheriff/

 Maps of evacuation status in Coconino County can be found at: Coconino County Situational Awareness Viewer (arcgis.com)

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Snake Fire

  • Current size: 130 acres.
  • Containment: 60 percent.
  • Reported: 2:36 p.m. June 21, 2021.
  • Cause: Unknown and under investigation.
  • Origin location: About 7 miles west of Clints Well (GPS coordinates: 34.567, -111.45)
  • Current resources: One Hotshot crew, two engines and miscellaneous overhead. Total personnel: About 50. 

The Snake Fire, located about 7 miles west of Clints Well on the northern edge of West Clear Creek, is now 130 acres and 60 percent contained.

The reason for the increase in acreage is due to more accurate mapping. A combination of topography and terrain have made it challenging to both survey the fire and work to contain it, and a combination of both topography and fire activity have made it difficult to investigate the cause of the fire, which is still unknown.

Crews spent Wednesday strengthening hand line built on the canyon rim. Crews were quick to build line around 80 percent of the fire, but the aforementioned rough terrain has made it difficult for crews to work in the West Clear Creek drainage.

While the Snake Fire did receive roughly a quarter-inch of rain yesterday and Tuesday, the full closure of the Coconino National Forest will remain in effect as weather conditions across much of the forest remain windy and dry.

Nearby communities, including those to the east and northeast of the fire, remain on “Set” evacuation status. Residents of nearby areas are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts through Coconino County, and the Coconino NF will continue to assess the needed alert status with Coconino County.

Current resources include two engines and one Hotshot crew.

Smoke will be visible to the public in the areas of Happy Jack Lodge, Clear Creek Pines Units 1 and 2, and those traveling along Forest Highway 3.

The Snake Fire was reported at 2:36 p.m. Monday by the Apache Maid Lookout.

Residents are reminded to refrain from flying drones in and around any wildfire. Not only is drone use over fire operations illegal, it also disrupts aerial firefighting operations, creating hazardous conditions and grounding aerial resources, which means they can’t fight the fire.

Details about the Snake Fire will be posted on InciWeb, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

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Backbone Fire

Acres: 40,591 acres
Percent Containment: 6%
Start Date: June 16, 2021
Cause: Lightning
Origin Location: Approximately 12 miles west of Pine and Strawberry, Arizona
Fuels: Pinyon Juniper, Chaparral, Brush, Grass, Cactus
Personnel Assigned: 692

 Light rain was received on the Backbone Fire today.  The next few days will see a warming and drying pattern accompanied by increasing wind speeds.  On the east side of the fire, crews began work on a direct fire line on Deadman Mesa and Hardscrabble Canyon to stop forward progression of the fire toward Strawberry and Pine.  Crews worked on strengthening the community defenses by constructing fire lines and completing structural protection work around the town and residences. Residents of Camp Verde and nearby communities will continue to see the fire slowly move northwest towards their towns. Firefighters worked at strengthening control lines and assessing community defense needs around Beasley Flats and Verde Lakes. The fire continues to remain on the east side of the Verde River.  Crews are working along State Route 260 to prepare for continued burn out operations to consume the excess fuels to prevent the fire from spreading.

Public Land Closures: Because of the extreme fire danger, many of the National Forests in Arizona have been, or soon will be closedto protect public health and safety. Please check the website for your specific National Forest for closure notifications.

Road Closures: 
State Route 260 is closed between Camp Verde and State Route 87. State Route 87 is closed north of Payson to Clint’s Well. Motorists are advised to visit https://www.az511.com for current road closures before traveling.  Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) is working closely with the agencies responding to wildfires across the state. While there has been some impact to APS infrastructure due to the Backbone Fire, there are no customers without power at this time because of fire activity and disruption in service is not currently anticipated. APS is monitoring fire progress and will coordinate with emergency response agencies in the event there is a need to take power lines out of service to protect firefighters and/or if the fire or smoke impacts electrical infrastructure. APS customers can visit aps.com/outagecenter for information on how to be prepared for an outage and to view the APS outage map.

Evacuations: Evacuation orders continue to be in place for the communities of Pine and Strawberry. The communities of Beasley Flats and Verde Lakes are in a Ready status. Residents and visitors should contact their county or visit https://ein.az.gov/ready-set-go for information regarding evacuation status.

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Wyrick/West Chev Fires

Wyrick
Start Date: Saturday, June 19, 2021
Acres: Wyrick: 7,452 acres
Cause: Lightning
Location: 2 miles north of Mogollon HS, Heber, AZ
Containment: 15%
Fuels: Pinyon-Juniper, Timber and grass
Total Personnel: 288
West Chev
Start Date: Saturday, June 19, 2021
Acres: 400 acres
Cause: Lightning
Location: 12.5 miles northwest of Heber, AZ
West Chev: 0%
Fuels: Timber and grass
Announcement: Communities that were asked to evacuate were allowed to return to their homes at 6:00 am this morning. Please stay diligent and be aware of current fire conditions.
Overview: Clouds and light rain showers provided a welcome relief, slowing fire growth on both the Wyrick and West Chev fires. This will give firefighters an opportunity to build a fireline directly next to the fire, taking advantage of this temporary reprieve to gain containment on the Wyrick Fire.
Ready, Set, Go: The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office announced that residents in GO status were allowed to return to their homes this morning. Visit Navajo County Emergency Management for additional information about the Ready, Set, Go program and how to sign up for alerts.
Areas in SET:
• Antelope Valley
• Despain Ranch
• Heber-and Overgaard
• Chevelon Retreat
• Communities south and east of State Route 277
• High Country Pines in Heber
• Kendall Ranch / Camp Ponderosa
Areas in READY:
• Chevelon Ranches
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Telegraph Fire

Acres: 180,744

Number of Personnel: 395 

Percent Containment: 89%

Cause: Human, under investigation

Date/Time Detected: Friday, June 4, 2021, 1:30 p.m.

Origin/Location: South of Superior, Arizona

Structures burned: 52

Overnight, cooler temperatures and intermittent showers resulted in minimal fire activity. The Tuxedo Junction and Icehouse Canyon areas and the southeast corner of the fire on Mescal Mountain continued to experience scattered heat pockets.  Firefighters will continue to patrol and monitor the fire for hot spots in the southeast section of the fire adjacent to Mescal Mountain and the Ice House Canyon area, and mop up along State Route 77. Suppression repair efforts will continue along the U.S Route 60 corridor and Forest Road 65. Aircraft will continue to monitor and provide support with water drops on scattered heat pockets on Mescal Mountain. State Route 77 is open to the public. Wildfire vehicles and equipment are moving throughout the area so be aware of that as you drive along the highway.

Evacuation status as of 7 a.m. June 24: “SET” – Dripping Springs, Wind Spirit, Hagen Ranch, Slash S Ranch, Government Springs, El Capitan East and West, Six Shooter and Icehouse Canyons.  Evacuation status” READY” – Superior, Globe, Miami, Claypool, Central Heights, Pinto/Carlotta, Skill Center, Fairgrounds, Schulze Ranch, Ray Mine, Top-of-the-World, Bellevue, Oak Flat, Beverly Hills, Riverside, Kearny, Winkelman, Hayden, Battle Axe area.

Closures and Fire Restrictions: https://wildlandfire.az.gov/fire-restrictions

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1 thought on “Arizona Wildfires Update as of 6/24/2021”

  1. It’s hard to believe that a fire could be 0% contained. That is impressive! I’m glad the Rafael Fire has been able to keep it at zero percent. It sounds like they are working really hard on controlling the fire and are making progress too!

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