Whiskey Fire Update
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Sept. 17, 2019 – The lightning-caused Whiskey fire is burning approximately 8 miles east of Turkey Butte Lookout. The fire is currently 3,900 acres.
Monday the fire area received significant rainfall. Due to weather conditions planned firing operations did not take place and FS Road 538 remained open to public travel. Fire crews continued preparation work to protect values at risk. Firefighters also removed potentially hazardous trees along roads and trails in order to provide for public and firefighter safety. Over the weekend fire personnel moderated firing operations, allowing only areas of unburned fuel to continue to burn within the fire perimeter.
Plans for today include a small test fire to determine whether a larger scale firing operation could be successful tomorrow. This operation is important to secure control lines and keep the fire within its containment area. This firing operation is expected to produce a significant amount of smoke in the area for several days after. This could potentially change if favorable weather conditions of warmer temperatures and lower humidity are not present.
We apologize for the expected smoke impacts. Fire fighters will attempt to reduce impacts to the public as much as possible. However, there are no perfect weather conditions or tactics that exist to remove smoke impacts entirely from a fire.
Smoke is expected to spread to the north over the next several days following a more seasonal wind pattern with winds coming out of the southwest. Smoke may affect areas including Flagstaff, Munds Park, Mountainaire, Kachina Village, Forest Highlands, Doney Park, Mormon Lake Village, Highway 89A Corridor, Sedona, Village of Oak Creek and portions of Interstate 40.
Forest Road 538 will be closed at the intersection of FR 527 and 538 all the way south to the intersection of FR 538E. The closure may last several days in efforts to provide for 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.
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.