KNAU's Morning Rundown: Monday, June 7
It’s Monday, June 7. About 100 personnel are managing a 20-plus-acre fire 15 miles north of Flagstaff, Coconino National Forest officials announced this morning.
The Slate Fire is burning near Highway 180 and the boundary of the Kaibab National Forest; officials say it could affect traffic and that its cause remains under investigation. This is a developing story.
It comes days after crews responded to a half-acre fire on Saturday southwest of Kachina Village near Forest Service Road 237 and Route 89A, according to the Highlands Fire District.
Small-Scale Vaccination Centers In Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley
The Yavapai Regional Medical Center is offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to individuals as young as 12 at Ponderosa Pediatrics in Prescott. A spokesperson announced late last month that individuals can schedule an appointment for the free vaccine and do not need to be active patients at the healthcare center.
YRMC says it’s also offering the Moderna vaccine in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley locations. Larger-scale vaccination sites closed in the county last month as healthcare officials shift to smaller vaccination centers.
The Arizona Department of Health Services estimates 42.1% of Yavapai County has received a COVID-19 vaccine, falling below the statewide average.
No Charges For Bagdad Fire, YSCO Says
A 150-acre fire in the mining community of Bagdad was caused by an ignition of road construction equipment, according to a report from Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire prompted an evacuation order for more than 570 residents and destroyed 24 area homes last month. YSCO determined the road project was not conducted with negligence and does not plan to file criminal charges.
Debt Relief Town Hall For Diné Farmers
Navajo Nation officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture plan to hold a virtual town hall later tonight at 6:00 p.m. for farmers affected by debt.
“According to the USDA, there is a substantial percentage of Navajo farmers and ranchers in the southwest who may qualify for the debt relief program,” President Jonathan Nez said Sunday.
The program — a product of the American Rescue Plan — has been authorized to reimburse up to 120% of a recent loan. It's designed for farmers who are Black, Indigenous, Latino or Asian American.
Navajo Police Report Advocates For More Officers
A new report released by the Navajo Police Department describes the force’s staffing levels as “dangerously low” — the May 27 analysis is calling for more officers.
The NPD assessment recommends the department grow to 500 officers in the next five years. Currently, NPD employs 189 officers.
Other weaknesses outlined in the report included unreliable cell phone and radio service in rural areas of the Navajo Nation; NPD is also calling for a stronger focus on substance use disorder and domestic violence.
Brush, Vegetation Collection Part Of Fire Mitigation Efforts In Prescott
Prescott officials say they’re allowing residents to dispose of vegetation and brush every Saturday in June at the city’s transfer station. It’s part of an effort, city officials say, to mitigate wildfire risk.
It comes as more than half a dozen fires continue to burn statewide, including fires near Globe, Superior and the San Carlos Reservation. Gila County officials early this morning released evacuation orders for Miami as a fire burns at more than 41,000 acres east of Phoenix.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service are predicting no precipitation this week as dry and windy conditions continue.
Navajo Transit Back After COVID-19 Closure
The Navajo Transit System is set to resume operations today, according to tribal officials. The transit system, which included stops in Fort Defiance, Kayenta and Flagstaff, halted its services last spring while COVID-19 cases began to rise on the reservation. The reopening comes with limited capacity and that the usual $2.00 fee will be paused amid the continuing pandemic.