Fire Updates And Morning Rundown: July 6, 2021
It’s Tuesday, July 6. Several mobile blood donation drives are scheduled this month in Flagstaff — including a “bloodmobile” Friday in the parking lot at REI in Sawmill Plaza. A Red Cross blood drive is scheduled tomorrow in the Sedona City Hall Complex. The blood donation non-profit Vitalant says a dire blood shortage is continuing after the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled blood donation events statewide.
Coconino, Kaibab National Forests Reopens After Rain; Restrictions Remain
The Coconino National Forest reopened today at 6 a.m. after officials determined area rainfall had reduced fire risk. Stage II fire restrictions remain in place, banning open fires of all kinds, including campfires, as well as smoking in certain areas, and operating electric tools powered by a combustion engine. The Kaibab National Forest also reopened this morning with effective Stage II fire restrictions. Sycamore Canyon and Bill Williams and surrounding areas remain closed.
The reopening comes as the Rafael Fire reaches 95% containment southwest of Flagstaff; crews are monitoring the lightning-caused fire’s perimeter and assessing burn severity, according to the fire’s Incident Management Team.
Containment Grows On Area Fires
Crews are reporting improvement on several northern Arizona fires. The Gunsights Fire about 12 miles northwest of Chino Valley was last assessed at 2,018 acres with 95% containment, per the Department of Forestry and Fire Management. The Backbone Fire was last assessed at 40,855 acres with 76% containment, according to the Bureau of Land Management. The National Weather Service is forecasting a decline in thunderstorm activity in northern Arizona and predicting isolated bouts of rain.
The Tiger Fire southeast of Crown King, however, has reached 11,897 acres with no containment. The lightning-caused fire has placed Crown
King, Black Canyon City, and Cleator on “ready” status, while an active evacuation order is in effect for Horsethief Cabins. More than 20 fires are currently burning statewide, according to data gathered by the Bureau of Land Management.
NAU Navigates Reopening As Fall Semester Approaches
A virtual town hall is slated Thursday afternoon for Northern Arizona University as the institution plans for a return to an in-person fall semester.
President José Luis Cruz Rivera says members of the public will be able to ask questions about the reopening process. NAU announced last month that COVID-19 vaccinations would not be required among students or staff, and that face coverings will be required only on public transit and within campus health services facilities. The university, which previously required students to adhere to randomized COVID-19 testing, will no longer require testing unless an outbreak occurs. It comes after Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order banning public universities from issuing mask mandates, vaccine requirements, or mandatory testing in most cases.
CCSO Continues Search For Man After 11 Years
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office says it’s continuing to search for a Forest Lakes man who was last seen in 2010. Cameron Sequeira is described as 4-foot-11, at 115 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Sequeira has a scar over his right eye and went by the nickname “Shorty”; he was 32 at the time of his disappearance and would be 43 years old now. CCSO says Sequeira left his home with his dog more than a decade ago; the animal later returned.
COVID-19: Vaccination Updates
Arizona’s vaccination rate is inching toward 50% as administration rates continue to slow statewide. The Department of Health Services reports 49.8% of the total population has received a vaccine.
Administration rates have also declined in Coconino County, where more than half the population has received a vaccine. County health officials are hosting weekly vaccination clinics on Wednesdays outside the Health and Human Services building in Flagstaff and on Wednesday evenings at Heritage Square. Meanwhile, 43.7% of Yavapai County has received a shot.
ADHS estimates 37.1% of Mohave County has received a dose; the county recently reported a case of the COVID-19 delta variant. Santa Cruz County is displaying one of the highest vaccination rates in the state at more than 65%.