National forests, counties and cities across northern Arizona will move to Stage II fire restrictions Friday as record drought conditions continue across the Southwest. Governor Doug Ducey yesterday declared a State of Emergency for both the Telegraph and Mescal fires, which have forced thousands to evacuate. A third large wildfire is burning north of Flagstaff.
The declaration makes available hundreds of thousands of dollars for fire management. The Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Apache-Sitgreaves forests will all move to heightened restrictions tomorrow, which include a ban on all open fires, smoking except in vehicles, use of chainsaws during peak heat hours and discharging of firearms except for lawful purpose. The City of Flagstaff will also move to Stage II restrictions tomorrow, as well as Coconino County, Arizona State Parks
Meanwhile, The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for much of the region today with gusts in excess of 40 miles per hour expected at times. The Warning applies to Coconino, Navajo and Apache counties and includes but is not limited to Flagstaff, Holbrook, Kayenta, Chinle, Page, Fredonia and Grand Canyon Village. An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued for parts of Mohave County, including Kingman and Lake Havasu, as well as along the Colorado River corridor through the Grand Canyon: Phantom Ranch is expected to reach 115 degrees by Sunday, as is the metro Phoenix area.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has called a special session of the Legislature to boost wildfire funding as two large wildfires burn in south-central Arizona. Ducey wants the Legislature to approve extra money to ensure firefighters have the resources they need to fight fires across the drought-stricken state. The special session is expected to be held next week. About 1,600 firefighters are battling fires near Globe and Miami that have burned at least 245 square miles.