Upcoming and favorable weather conditions allow the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management to conduct two prescribed burn projects in Graham and Coconino Counties starting this week. Roper Lake State Park Pile Burn:
The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management in conjunction with Arizona State Parks and Trails begin pile burn operations at four state parks across the state over the course of a few weeks.
Fueled by winds and pockets of dry vegetation, the fire stayed active overnight. The fire made a push to the east, but firefighters were able to safely and directly engage it to keep it from coming off Mustang Mountain and toward high priority values at risk. One of today’s main objectives is to keep the fire from moving to the east near kilovolt (kV) lines that supply power to the communities of Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista. To meet those objectives, additional hand crews and aircraft have been ordered for Tuesday. Crews will also work today to establish containment line at the head of the fire to keep the fire south of State Route 82 and out of the Rain Valley community. Other objectives include, keeping the fire away from Upper Elgin Road to protect the communities of Elgin and Sonoita and slowing spread to the southeast to protect the Babacomari Ranch.
Crews took advantage of the decreased fire activity overnight and conducted fire handline construction ahead of the fire as a way to help slow the fire’s forward progress. This is a tactic used to reduce fuel in an area to potentially limit fire spread and growth. However, another round of Red Flag conditions Monday may hinder daytime fire suppression efforts as high winds, low relative humidity, and a dry fuel bed can create fast fire spread and erratic fire behavior, and likely unsafe fire conditions for direct suppression efforts. Predicted winds out of the southwest again can push the fire further to the north and northeast.
Due to Red Flag conditions, including wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour, the San Rafael Fire is being reported at 10,000 acres. The wind-driven fire continues to push to the northeast across a heavy grass crop and is burning actively on the northeast side. Multiple hand crews and engines are currently engaged in fire suppression efforts. Aircraft, to include, Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs), Very Large Air Tankers (VLATs), a Large Air Tanker (LAT), and helicopters are also assigned to the fire.