Fire Season 2014

We at KNAU know that northern Arizona wildfire information is crucial to our listeners. This page is our comprehensive source for information about the 2014 wildfire season. Here you will find all the latest updates from area fire agencies and national forests as well as wildfire-oriented stories.

For breaking news tips, call the KNAU newsroom at (928) 523-4912 or e-mail ryan.heinsius@nau.edu.

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KNAU and Arizona News
3:08 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Several Abandoned Campfires Reported Over Labor Day Weekend

Credit blog.theclymb.com

Over Labor Day weekend, nearly three dozen abandoned campfires were reported on the Coconino National Forest. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the number represents a major uptick over previous years.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Fri August 15, 2014

What Would Cable Logging Mean for the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project?

A non-native species takes a dip in the Dry Lake Hills north of Flagstaff.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project is a major forest-thinning initiative set to begin in 2015. It’s designed to safeguard vulnerable areas near Flagstaff against wildfire and mitigate some of its most destructive after effects. In 2012, Flagstaff voters approved $10 million for the project and now the Forest Service has proposed four options for possible treatments, including cable logging, something never before done in the area. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius recently spoke with the project’s manager, Erin Phelps, and asked, “What exactly is cable logging?” 

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Public Comment Period for the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project Nears End

A monsoon storm rolls into the Dry Lake Hills north of Flagstaff. The popular local hiking and mountain biking area will likely be the location of a heavy forest thinning project over the next several years.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

The public comment period for a major forest-thinning project in the Flagstaff area will end Mon, Aug. 18. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the project could involve heavy thinning in some of Flagstaff’s most picturesque areas.

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KNAU and Arizona News
2:00 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Arizona One of the Country’s Most At-Risk States Due to Natural Disaster

Flames from the Wallow Fire — Arizona's largest-ever wildfire — consume pine trees in 2011.
Credit Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

A personal finance website has ranked Arizona as the 10th most at-risk state for natural disaster. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, major wildfires caused by persistent drought contributed to the Grand Canyon State making the list.

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KNAU and Arizona News
9:52 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Coconino National Forest Managing Four Lightning-Caused Wildfires

Coconino National Forest officials are actively managing four lightning-caused fires. All are burning at a low intensity on the forest floor. As on the Kaibab National Forest, these fires are being used to increase safety, reduce fuels and for vegetation and wildlife habitat restoration.

The 300-acre Willard Fire is burning south of Flagstaff between Oak Creek Canyon and I-17 near the Willard Springs Interchange. Smoke may be visible from Kachina Village, Mountainaire, Munds Park and Sedona.

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KNAU and Arizona News
2:24 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Crews Manage Three Fires on the Kaibab National Forest Ahead of Drier Weather

The Sitgreaves Fire burning near Parks on Wed, July 16.
Credit Kaibab National Forest

Managers on the Kaibab National Forest have been taking advantage of wetter conditions by allowing multiple wildfires to burn. But, as Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, with drier weather on the way, crews are preparing for more unpredictable fire activity.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:01 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Post-Wildfire Bacteria Levels in Oak Creek Heightened After Monsoon Flooding

A badly scorched area just above Oak Creek north of Slide Rock State Park.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Officials in Coconino County are advising the public not to drink from or swim in Oak Creek. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, recent water contamination is yet another consequence of the Slide Fire.

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Earth Notes
4:01 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Earth Notes: The Slide Fire’s New Old Cabin

Leo Holley, the firefighter who discovered the ruins of the Oak Creek cabin, at the site.
Credit U.S. Forest Service

When intense wildfires burn through well-loved places like Oak Creek Canyon, the sense of loss is deep. But, sometimes wildfires offer gifts in the midst of destruction.

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KNAU and Arizona News
9:22 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Gunshots, Whistles and Cellphones: Age-Old Challenges in Emergency Communication

The Slide Fire started in Oak Creek Canyon and quickly spread north toward Flagstaff. This photo was taken on the second day of the fire when it was still only a couple hundred acres in size.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

The Slide Fire burned more than 21,000 acres in Oak Creek Canyon and forced hundreds of people to evacuate. For more than a week in May, the fire even threatened Flagstaff, the most populous city in northern Arizona. So the folks at Arizona Public Radio wondered, “What is the city’s emergency plan, and how has it changed from its early pioneer days?”

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KNAU and Arizona News
9:00 am
Thu July 3, 2014

San Juan Fire Updates

A map of the San Juan Fire as of Mon, June 30
Credit Courtesy of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

Update, Thu, July 3, 7:30 a.m.:

The San Juan Fire burning southeast of Show Low is now 70 percent contained and 6,975 acres in size. Crews are conducting mop-up and rehabilitation efforts in the burn area. 

At t 8 a.m. this morning, the evacuation order for Red Cabin Ranch, Whiting Homestead and Carlock Ranch was lifted along with the pre-evacuation order for Greens Peak Hideaway and Hidden Meadows. 

There are currently 624 personnel on scene including four hotshot crews and two helicopters. A partial closure of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests remains in effect.

The fire was human caused and is under investigation.

Update, Wed, July 2, 8 a.m.:

The San Juan Fire is now 15 percent contained and 6,975 acres in size. The blaze's increase in size is mostly due to burnout operations. In total, 679 personnel are fighting the fire. Crews have also begun conducting rehabilitation work on the burn area.

A public meeting will be held at the Vernon Fire Station Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

Update, Tue, July 1, 9 a.m.:

The San Juan Fire burning 18 miles southeast of Show Low is now 6,400 acres and 5 percent contained. It is burning on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for Red Cabin Ranch, Whiting Homestead and Carlock Ranch. Pre-evacuation notices have been given to Greens Peak Hideaway and the Hidden Meadows Ranch. The fire's burn area has been closed to the public and road blocks are in place.

A total of 683 personnel are on scene. Overnight operations were successful in removing fuel between constructed fire lines. Crews are conducting burnout operations on the west side of the fire, and overnight operations expanded the fire by about 700 acres. Fire growth in the coming days will likely be as a result of the burnouts. Mop-up operations are being conducted on the north and east sides of the fire.

Heavy smoke as a result of the fire has been present in low-lying areas. The fire was human caused and is under investigation. For updates on the San Juan Fire, see 311info.net.

Update, Mon, June 30, 7:30 a.m.:

The San Juan Fire burning 18 miles southeast of Show Low is now at 5,700 acres and 5 percent containment. A total of 679 personnel are on scene. Successful burnout operations overnight removed fuel between constructed fire lines and the main body of the fire.

Travel on Highway 60 may be affected today due to settling smoke from last night's operations.

A public meeting will be held at the Vernon Fire Station at 6 p.m. Monday night with fire managers and representatives from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

Mandatory evacuations remain in place for Red Cabin Ranch, Whiting Homestead and Carlock Ranch. Pre-evacuation notices have been given to Greens Peak Hideaway and Hidden Meadows Ranch. A closure is also in effect for the fire area in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

More info can be found at 311info.net.

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