Coconino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Aerial ignitions to begin on the Maroon Fire
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., June 01, 2019 – Crews made progress with successful hand ignition operations along the western fire perimeter around the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) power lines. Firefighters continue to secure and protect the Moon Crater homes and infrastructure adjacent to the fire perimeter. Low to moderate fire activity continues to benefit the forest ecosystem by reducing the dead and down fuel.
Ignitions will continue along the perimeter, as weather conditions allow, and will be conducted on the ground in coordination with aerial resources. Helicopter and a specialized federal unmanned aircraft system (UAS) will be utilized in areas hazardous to firefighters. Aerial resources are being used in today’s firing operations due to the unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the Maroon Crater area.
The public will see more smoke in the air today and possibly through the weekend as firing operations continue. Forest Service roads around the perimeter may be temporarily closed during firing operations due to public and firefighter safety. Smoke will be visible from Leupp and tribal lands, visitors within the fire vicinity, travelers on Leupp Road, and along Interstate 40. Smoke may also be visible from the City of Flagstaff.
Unmanned aircraft system to be used for aerial ignitions, operations on Maroon Fire
Flagstaff, Ariz., May 31, 2019 - Fire managers plan to utilize an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to monitor, gather intelligence and conduct burnout operations on the Maroon Fire in areas which are inaccessible or too hazardous for firefighters.
The Forest Service has experimented with unmanned aircraft systems on incidents in the past, but the Maroon Fire Incident management team will be the first to officially order and operate this specialized equipment on an active incident to meet operational objectives.
The agency intends to utilize UAS for air operations on wildfires more often in the future, as the use of UAS significantly reduces the exposure of aircraft personnel to safety hazards and decreases firefighting costs.
On the Maroon Fire, the UAS will be used to conduct burnout operations near Maroon Crater—an area unsafe for personnel due to the possibility of unexploded ordinance left behind by historical artillery testing.
As burnout operations commence, an increase in smoke will be seen by communities and motorists traveling in and around Flagstaff. Smoke is predicted to move to the northeast and could impact areas such as Leupp, the Navajo Nation, Grand Falls area and motorists along Leupp Road. Smoke settles and disperses during cooler hours and may also impact Flagstaff, Winona, and Dooney Park during those hours.
Updates regarding the Maroon Fire are posted daily on Inciweb at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6352
NOTE TO MEDIA - UAS Demonstration: Any media interested in attending a demonstration of the UAS on Monday, June 3rd, should contact Kait Webb, Maroon Fire public information officer at (541-620-1572) for further details on the time and meeting location.