Coconino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Drone incursion impedes air operations
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., July 25, 2019 – An unmanned aircraft system (UAS), also known as a “drone,” briefly impeded aerial operations on the Museum Fire yesterday. The UAS, reported in the southeast portion of the fire area, caused helicopter operations to stop and relocate. Operations were moved from the Flagstaff City Reservoir, north of the fire, to Schultz Tank where flights could safely resume.
The ability to drop water and retardant via aircraft is critical to fire suppression efforts. UAS incursions not only endanger the lives of pilots and firefighters, but also reduce the capacity of the Incident Management Team to protect the communities of Flagstaff and Summit. Regardless of your motivation, flying a drone near a wildland fire is putting someone else’s life in danger. Your hobby is not worth another person’s life.
Today, crews continue to engage the fire directly where it is safe to do so and use indirect tactics in areas of rugged terrain. There are islands of heavy fuels burning within the perimeter and smoke columns will be visible. Firefighters have contingency lines in place and now can get closer to the fire as they work to increase containment along the north and east perimeters.
Thunderstorms will again be present but are expected to drop minimal precipitation. Drying trends and increased temperatures are predicted into the weekend and bring the potential for increased fire activity. Structure preparation is complete in the communities nearest the fire and those areas will continue to be closely monitored.
As a part of the Team’s commitment to provide support with planning and evaluation of post-fire watershed impacts, crews will be installing weather stations on Mount Elden today that will remain after the fire to assist local emergency managers in monitoring for flood potential.
Coconino County and the City of Flagstaff will be hosting a second flood mitigation community meeting today at 6:30 pm at Cromer Elementary School (7150 Silver Saddle Rd). For the most current “Ready, Set, Go” status of communities, call the Coconino County Call Center at 928-213-2990, staffed between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.