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Rafael Fire Active In Sycamore Canyon As Crews Try To Establish Containment Lines

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office

The Rafael Fire burning southwest of Flagstaff has grown to nearly 40,000 acres and officials haven’t yet reported any containment. Fire managers, however, hope a predicted active monsoon pattern will help decrease fire activity. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The Rafael Fire remains most active in the rugged and steep Sycamore Canyon area. Officials say it’s burning toward several past wildfires to the east, which could slow its progression. Firefighters are also conducting burnout operations to thin dry fuels ahead of the fire to establish containment lines, and aerial crews are continuing to drop fire retardant.

Officials Thursday put the South Garland Prairie community into Go evacuation status, but downgraded several other areas south of Interstate-40 and west of I-17 to Ready.

Drier and warmer weather is forecast over the weekend ahead of predicted deeper monsoon rain throughout the region starting early next week. The weather change is expected to assist firefighting efforts but could also bring erratic winds and additional lightning strikes.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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