With Monsoon Activity Firefighters Take on Museum Fire More Directly

Jul 24, 2019

Overnight infrared mapping shows the Museum Fire north of Flagstaff has now grown 1,887 acres with 10 percent containment. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, monsoon rain in the forecast has fire managers revising their strategy.

Type 1 Incident Management Team Commander Rich Nieto speaks at Wednesday morning's media briefing.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Today’s expected moisture and high humidity has crews planning a more aggressive approach in battling the Museum Fire. They’ll take on its perimeter more directly in some areas to try to keep it as small as possible.

Wednesday morning's map shows an increase perimeter of the Museum Fire following overnight infrared mapping.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Some parts of the fire received up to an inch of rain yesterday, helping reduce the intensity of the flames, but officials say more is needed.

"We’re going to look at coming in a little bit tighter to where this fire is where we can safely do it for the firefighters. There’s still steep, rugged terrain that we’re dealing with so we’ll make sure that we’re putting firefighters in a good place," says Type 1 Incident Management Team Operations Chief Todd Abel. 

Wednesday morning's updated burn map.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Abel says outflow winds from the monsoon could still cause the Museum Fire to spread, but officials generally don’t expect significant growth. Managers today will focus on moderating the fire mainly with ground crews, and rely less on aerial support than they did earlier in the week.

Firefighters will continue to conduct burnout operations to decrease the fire’s intensity, which could help reduce post-fire flooding.