KNAU's Morning Rundown: Wednesday, June 9
It’s Wednesday, June 9. Multiple people in Flagstaff reported witnessing an illuminated, flying object in the sky Tuesday evening. The National Weather Service says the object was notan NWS operated weather balloon, but likely a NASA balloon launched earlier this spring to examine connections between Earth and the sun.
Stage 2 Restrictions Roll Out Amid Active Fire Season
Yavapai County will enter stage two fire restrictions Friday as crews manage fires statewide. The county’s second phase bars individuals from using a chainsaw or similar equipment during daytime hours. It also prohibits welding with an open flame, and using a motorized vehicle off service roads in areas with vegetations, among other regulations.
Areas entered stage one restrictions last month, prohibiting campfires in undesignated sites and smoking in certain areas. Stage one restrictions remain in effect.
Yavapai County’s shift to stage two restrictions comes after a fire prompted hundreds of evacuations in Bagdad, and as sheriff’s deputies investigate what they say was an intentional fire in Paulden contained last Thursday.
Coconino and Prescott National Forests will also enter stage two restrictions Friday morning.
Pop-Up Clinics Continue As Daily Vaccination Rates Stall
Pop-up clinics to receive the COVID-19 vaccine continue across northern Arizona; North Country Healthcare will host a clinic in Mohave County’s Meadview community Thursday morning to distribute the Moderna vaccine.
A weekly clinic is slated today outside the Coconino Health and Human Services building in Flagstaff, offering the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. A mass vaccination site at the Northern Arizona University campus is set to close June 26.
Health officials continue to reiterate that the COVID-19 vaccine is free; a nationwide poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about 32% of respondents were concerned about having to pay for the process.
Monsoon Outlook Unclear As AZ Drought Continues
National Weather Service forecasters say the last year has been the driest on record for Arizona between May 2020 and April 2021. Eastern Arizona has a slight chance for a drier monsoon season this summer, according to the NWS Climate Prediction Center. The remainder of the state remains unclear in the 2021 monsoon outlook: Arizona could have near normal, above normal, or below normal rainfall as the season approaches.
Discussions Continue On Biking, Pedestrian Safety In Flagstaff
Members of the public called for urgent action bolstering bicyclist and pedestrian safety at a Flagstaff City Council meeting Tuesday in light of a fatal vehicle collision late last month. The council is set for a six-week break beginning July 7.
City and county attorneys are slated to review charges for California driver Normand Cloutier after he ran a red light and struck six cyclists; he has so far received a misdemeanor charge for death by a moving violation. The collision killed 29-year-old Joanna Wheaton and hospitalized others.
Slate Fire Grows, Moves Northeast Of Flagstaff
Crews continue to manage a fire about 23 miles northwest of Flagstaff; the Slate Fire has grown to about 2,000 acres, or about 3.1 square miles, according to a Wednesday morning report from Coconino National Forest officials.
The fire prompted continued closures along Highway 180. Slate and Red Mountain trailheads, along with Kendrick Cabin and parts of the Arizona Trail, have been closed.
Forest officials say they’re working to shield the fire from the nearby Cedar Ranch, and that no structures are under threat. The fire’s cause is still unknown according to the Bureau of Land Management. State records show a human-caused fire occurred in the same area in 1996.