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Saber Fire

Unit Information

Coconino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

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08-13-19 News Release

Saber Fire Wildfire
News – 8/13/2019

Wildfire near Turkey Butte to improve safety, forest health

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., August 13, 2019 - The Saber Fire, a lightning-caused wildfire south of Turkey Butte lookout, is being allowed to burn and fulfill its natural role consuming forest fuels while firefighters keep it in check.

The lookout on Turkey Butte reported this lightning-fire August 2 at around 4:40 p.m. Now a local Type 3 Incident Management Team, lead by Chad Rice, will allow the fire to move naturally across the landscape within a predetermined 12,495-acre planning area. The fire may not move across the entire planning area and the edges of the fire may be suppressed to protect infrastructure and other values at risk.

The Turkey Butte lookout is 1.5 miles north of the fire, which has grown to 52 acres near the edge of the Mogollon Rim. This fire is burning in grass, brush and timber where the 2009 Taylor Fire occurred and it will benefit the ecosystem as it moves across the landscape naturally consuming dense forest fuels. The fire poses no threat to any residents or structures.

The fire's natural roll in the ecosystem revitalizes the soil and reduces the risk of catastrophic and uncontrolled wildfires in the future. Reducing the buildup of forest fuels around Turkey Butte lookout, Fernow cabin and along Arizona Public Service (APS) high voltage electrical powerlines creates a buffer to protect these assets against future severe wildfires.

Smoke will lift during the day and may be visible from Sedona, Verde Valley, Oak Creek Canyon, state Route 89A, Interstates 40, I-17 and Flagstaff. Smoke normally settles overnight into drainages and canyons flowing into communities at lower elevations below the Mogollon Rim, such as Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona.
The public should avoid the immediate fire area near Turkey Butte and drive with caution in the forest as smoke may impact visibility where wildland firefighters are working.

Updates about the Saber Fire can be found on Inciweb. Follow the Coconino National Forest’s social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to get timely updates on this fire, other incidents, and forest-wide activities.


  • Discovery date: August 2, 2019.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Origin location: Approximately 15 miles southeast of Flagstaff (Latitude/Longitude: 35.011°N, 111.901W).
  • Current size: 52 acres.
  • Current resources: Four engines, a crew, a dozer and overhead personnel. Total personnel: approximately 36.
  • Predicted smoke impacts: Expect smoke production to increase over the next few days. Significant smoke may impact forest roads south of Flagstaff and west of Interstate 17. The smoke may be seen by people in Flagstaff, motorists on I-17, I-40 and sr 89A. Smoke will likely impact areas of Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona communities during cooler evening hours.
  • Current closures: None. However, campers should not establish any camps near the Mogollon Rim close to Turkey Butte due to upcoming burnout operations.
  • Recent and current operations: Wildland firefighting crews are preparing control lines using a dozer and backburning along forest roads near the Mogollon rim.


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