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Morning Rundown: Monday, July 12


It’s Monday, July 12.The Bureau of Land Management confirms Jeff Piechura, a 62-year-old retired fire chief, and Matthew Miller, a 48-year-old pilot, died in a plane crash Saturday while responding to a fire 14 miles northeast of Wikieup. The BLM says Pierchura and Miller were working to contain the lightning-caused Cedar Basin Fire, which has grown to 714 acres with no containment reported. Several federal agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board, will investigate the fatal collision.

Mostly Low Burn Severity Reported In Wake Of Rafael Fire 

A Burned Area Emergency Response Team has determined that most of the land affected by the Rafael Fire has sustained low burn severity. The lightning-caused fire southwest of Flagstaff burned more than 78,000 acres and is 95% contained. 

Prescott National Forest officials say 63.1% of the soil burned at low severity, while 7.2% experienced high burn severity. High risk for flooding and other hazards remain present at Sycamore Canyon and near the Verde River confluence. Forest officials advised residents near and downstream from the fire to remain conscious of flash flood risk in the event of heavy rain.

Middle, Tiger Fires Remain Active

A lightning-caused wildfire has grown to 2,784 acres about 28 miles northeast of Cave Creek with no containment reported, according to the Prescott National Forest. An Incident Management Team says the Middle Fire received precipitation Saturday but expanded several hundred acres nonetheless. Road and area closures are in effect on the Tonto National Forest. 

The Tiger Fire northwest of Black Canyon City remains at 43% containment and has grown to more than 16,243 acres. The fire’s Incident Management Team says fire activity subsided Sunday due to area humidity. Crown King and Lorena Gulch remain in “set” status for potential evacuation, while a full evacuation order remains effective for Horsethief Basin. The National Interagency Fire Center reports more acres have burned from wildfires in Arizona than any other state in 2021 so far, with 479,906 thousand burned acres recorded as of Wednesday, July 7.

Job Fairs On Tap For Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation Office of the Controller plans to host job fairs this week in Chinle, Shiprock and St. Michaels chapter houses. The tribe is seeking students and temporary workers who can provide office support as the Nation begins its final phase of the CARES Act Hardship Program.

The program will reopen an application later this year for 92,000 tribal members who did not apply to receive the tribal stimulus checks in the previous phase. Tribal officials say an online town hall is scheduled tonight to further discuss the program’s final application period.

Reopenings Take Shape On Navajo 

Diné-led tours for Antelope Canyon reopen today after months of closure - an effect of recently signed legislation allowing tribal parks and other businesses to operate at 50% maximum capacity. Already, tours are sold out in coming weeks after months of closure on the reservation. The Twin Arrows Casino also reopened this morning. Tribal officials say COVID-19 precautions remain effective on the Navajo Nation, including a mask mandate in public places.

Fentanyl, Methamphetamine Recovered In Yavapai County

Yavapai County Sheriff’s officials say they recovered about 28,000 fentanyl pills last Wednesday during a traffic stop near Cordes Junction. County officials say they also recovered 203 pounds of methamphetamine from the semi truck, leading to an estimated total of more than $1 million worth of the substances. Deputies did not release information regarding criminal charges or suspects. 

Yavapai County Says Holiday Brought On More COVID-19 Cases

Yavapai County experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases shortly after the Fourth of July weekend, according to county health officials. State data shows 44.1% of the county’s population has received a vaccine, falling below the statewide rate of 50.6%. Daily administration rates of the vaccine have steadily fallen in Yavapai County in recent weeks according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. 


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