On Friday, four area national forests will implement Stage 1 campfire and smoking restrictions in an attempt to lessen the danger of human-caused wildfire. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it’s the earliest the bans have gone into effect in almost 10 years.
Flagstaff authorities say two recent wildfires within the city limits, near lower Switzer Canyon, were the result of possible arson. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, the first fire started Friday and the second began Saturday. Police say the proximity of the fires — about 150 yard apart — and timing were suspicious. Authorities are searching for a suspect they questioned and released after the first fire. He was last seen wearing a black hat and a camouflage jacket while carrying a tan backpack and large knife.
Over the weekend, crews battled the first major wildfire of the year in northern Arizona. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, just days before the fire broke out both of the state’s U.S. senators urged the federal government to fast-track thinning projects.
The City of Flagstaff will implement stage 1 fire restrictions on Fri, April 18 at 8 a.m. These restrictions ban on all fire pits and other open flame devises in the city. The use of charcoal grills and other devices with an on-off switch are still permitted.Under stage 1 restrictions, smoking is banned on the Flagstaff Urban Trail System and disc golf courses at Buffalo Park, Thorpe Park, McPhearson Park and McMillan Mesa Park. According to the city, the Flagstaff Police Department is also expanding homeless-camping patrol efforts to prevent human-caused wildfire.
The Coconino National Forest expects 100 percent containment of the Fisher Fire by this evening. Much of the firefighting crew on scene has been released.
Update for 5 p.m., Sun, April 13:
Despite high winds and a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service, the Fisher Fire is 75 percent contained and remains at 175 acres. The Coconino National Forest confirms the fire was human caused and that the specifics are under investigation.
Update for 8 a.m., Sun, April 13:
The Fisher Fire did not spread overnight and remains at 175 acres with 50 percent containment. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for Sunday from noon until 8 p.m.
Update for 3:50 p.m., Sat, April 12:
The 175-acre Fisher Fire is 50 percent contained with minimal activity. Crews are mopping up and no structures are threatened.
Extremely dry conditions have pushed up fire season by about a month on northern Arizona’s forests. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the Flagstaff community is already taking precautions.
The state is entering the wildfire season with the Forestry Division still facing charges of violating worker safety rules last year resulting in the deaths at Yarnell Hill. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
The state’s top forester said today that heavy monsoon rains last year coupled with light snowpack this winter will combine to make for a more dangerous fire season this year. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.