Rafael Fire Update, 06/22/21
Several neighborhoods in Flagstaff and the surrounding area remain on "SET" status as the Rafael Fire burns southwest of the city in steep terrain.
The Coconino County Sheriff's Office Monday issued an emergency alert letting residents know they should prepare for potential evacuation. The alert includes areas south of I-40 and west of I-17 near Flagstaff — including Kachina Village, University Heights, Forest Highlands, Pine Dell, Woody Mountain Road, Mountain Dell, Pine Aire Estates and South Garland Prairie. The announcement is not an evacuation order but a notice for preparation.
A Type I Incident Management Team has been ordered to take over operations. A Type III team is currently managing both the Rafael and Rock Butte fires. According to Inciweb's Tuesday morning update, the Rafael Fire has so far burned more than 24,000 acres of ponderosa and juniper forest. No containment estimate has been issued as of yet. The blaze is burning 4 miles north of Perkinsville, east of Hwy 89.
Forest officials say strong, gusty winds have been blowing predominantly from the southwest. They describe extreme fire behavior with uphill runs, torching and crowning. Today, crews will continue to work on control lines, taking advantage of natural barriers in the landscape.
Active evacuation orders went into effect Sunday for camping areas in Sycamore Canyon and regions south of Forest Service road 535 near road 231. The Coconino National Forest will close Wednesday morning at eight. A briefing is scheduled today at one o’clock from the Coconino County Board of Supervisors.
Coconino County has established an emergency call center for the Rafael Fire, at 928-679-8641. The county board of supervisors will provide an update today at 1 o'clock. Residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications at www.coconino.az.gov/ready. Residents can sign up for notifications in languages including English and Spanish.