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Wildfire morning update, 06/17/22: crews make progress, forest closures begin, high winds, thunderstorms in the forecast

red flag warning

FOREST CLOSURES

Forest Service officials will temporarily close certain areas of both the Coconino and Kaibab national forests beginning Friday and Saturday due to fire danger.

On the Kaibab National Forest, the area of Bill Williams Mountain will close beginning at 8 a.m. On the Coconino National Forest, the areas of Pumphouse Wash/Kelly Canyon and Fisher Point/Walnut Canyon will close Saturday at 8 a.m.

In the Fisher Point/Walnut Canyon closure area, all forest roads and recreation sites within the area will be closed. This includes Fisher Point, Marshal Lake, portions of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, Canyon Vista Campground, Sandys Canyon Trail No. 137, and more.

These area closures are in addition to the already-implemented emergency closure of most of the Coconino National Forest north of Interstate 40.

All other parts of the national forests outside of the closure areas remain in Stage 2 fire restrictions. Specific closure areas can be found on the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests’ websites and Twitter feeds, and at www.knau.org.

PIPELINE AND HAYWIRE UPDATES

Crews continue to make progress on the Pipeline and Haywire fires burning near Flagstaff. Calmer winds Thursday caused an overall decrease in fire behavior.

Firefighters were able to take advantage of lighter winds by using aircraft for suppression efforts. Today, winds are expected to pick up again with a Red Flag Warning in effect and gusts up to 50 mph. This may affect firefighting operations.

The Pipeline Fire has burned at least 25 thousand acres and is 31% contained according to Inciweb’s latest update. A morning update is expected soon.

Meanwhile, the Haywire Fire has burned at least 5,300 acres and is 11% contained according to Thursday night’s figures. Fire managers describe fire behavior as single tree torching, backing and flanking.

MUSEUM FIRE FLOOD SIREN TEST FRIDAY

Flagstaff officials on Friday will test a siren designed to alert people in the Museum flood area.

It will be tested at full volume from noon to 2 and include an alarm sound followed by a voice message repeated three times in both English and Spanish, concluding with a wind-down siren sound.

Officials say the process may repeat several times and the test may be postponed because of weather or wildfire.

The system is meant to provide supplemental alerts to people in the Grandview Homes and Sunnyside neighborhoods. The sirens are triggered if three-quarters of an inch of rain falls in 15 minutes over the burn scar.

All residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts at www.coconino.az.gov/ready.

FISH FIRE ON APACHE SITGREAVES

Crews in northeastern Arizona continue to fight the Fish Fire burning on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

The fire is burning within the Alpine District southwest of Hannagan Meadows on Hwy 191. It’s estimated to have burned at least 1,900 acres.

Smoke attributed to the Fish Fire may be visible in Round Valley, Alpine, AZ, and Reserve, NM.

An interactive smoke map can be found at https://fire.airnow.gov/.

CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning and Wind Advisory for much of the region today with critical fire weather in the forecast.

Sustained southerly winds between 20-3- miles are expected, with gusts up to 50 mph. Scattered thunderstorms and rain showers will begin today, mainly in eastern Arizona, with more widespread activity Saturday and Sunday.

Smoke impacts will likely continue from the Pipeline, Haywire and Fish Fires.