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Mop-Up And Repair Continues On Rafael Fire As Containment Passes 70%

Ryan Heinsius

Crews continue to demobilize as firefighting efforts wind down on the 78,000-acre Rafael Fire. More than 70% of the blaze has now been contained. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Fire crews are now mainly focused on patrols, mop-up and work to repair wooded areas following more than a week’s worth of suppression efforts by hundreds of personnel. They are, however, on the lookout for new fire starts caused by lightning as monsoon storms move through the region.

Officials say smoke will be visible in the coming days from interior fuels that continue to burn. Only one structure has been reported damaged or destroyed.

According to the National Weather Service, rains today could cause flash flooding near burned areas as well as communities to the south of the fire. The monsoon could also create gusty and erratic outflow winds.

All Go evacuation orders have now been lifted for nearby communities. The Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott national forests remain fully closed to visitors because of continued extreme wildfire danger.

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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