Information on Managed Burns Taking Place Around Flagstaff

May 23rd, 2016 at 11:01 AM

Flagstaff, Ariz., May 23, 2016, For Immediate Release — Fire managers with the Coconino National Forest are utilizing another, for a total of three, lightning-caused fires to benefit the landscape and maintain a healthy ecosystem by allowing natural fire to fulfill its natural role in the environment.

In addition to the Mormon and Cowboy fires, a third lightning caused fire, Pivot Rock fire, in the Mogollon Ranger District is being used as a multiple objective fire. All three are currently small in size, Pivot Rock is the largest at approximately 360 acres and the other two are smoldering in areas that are visible to the public, which will become even more noticeable as conditions dry out.

The most noticeable fire to the public is the Cowboy fire, it is next to I-17, near the northbound Kelly Canyon exit. Fire operations will cause this area to increase the smoke thickness today and the rest of the week. Motorist are reminded to use caution and leave plenty of time to travel in these smoky areas. Arizona Department of Transportation, the Forest Service and other area public works have placed signs and in a cooperative effort are reminding motorist to slow down and drive safely.

The forest thrives on fires such as these that are low severity and creep across the forest floor, reducing fuels, the risk of severe wildfire, creating safer conditions for residents and visitors, and restoring wildlife habitat by promoting future healthy vegetation.

Even though the smoke increases this week, motorist and travelers should see relief Friday as the Forest Service will monitor and hold the fires to the greatest extent possible over the Memorial Day weekend.

These multiple objective fires will increase in size as time goes on, and firefighters will be conducting burnout operations to manage where and how the fires move through the landscape. Smoke will become more noticeable, but still be much lighter than that of a severe wildfire. Fire managers will closely monitor smoke impacts to communities.

The smoke near I-17 may settle in the Interstate corridor over nights, so motorist will need to obey ADOT instructions and personnel monitoring road conditions.

The Pivot Rock, Mormon and Cowboy fires are not prescribed burns. Though the resource benefits will be similar, these are wildfires that will be managed and used as nature intended. This means they do not have planned end dates, but fire managers have carefully determined the perimeters within which the fires may run their natural course. Ultimately, fire will eventually treat portions, or all of, the land inside the perimeters.

Information and details about the fires, including their objectives, will be updated on Inciweb at Quick updates will also be provided via the Coconino NF Twitter site at (@CoconinoNF), so please follow us if you would like to be updated as information is received. The public can report smoke impacts online at or get more information about the Forest at



Start Date: May 19, 2016.

Location: Approximately 3.25 miles northeast of the junction of SR 87 and SR 260; 8 miles northeast of the towns of Pine and Strawberry.

Current Size: 360 acres

Fire Behavior: Fire is moving and active along all sides of the area. Fuels are being reduced with low to moderate severity impacts to forest floor and soil.

Smoke Impacts: None currently.

Closures: None currently.

Current Management Actions:



Start Date: May 14, 2016.

Location: Approximately six miles east of Munds Park near Mormon Mountain.

Current Size: Six acres

Fire Behavior: Smoldering and creeping, producing light smoke.

Smoke Impacts: Smoke will increase this week with back burning operations.

Closures: None currently.

Current Management Actions: In monitoring status until conditions become drier.



Start Date: May 17, 2016.

Location: About eight miles south of Flagstaff, on the immediate east side of Interstate 17.

Current Size: Five acres.

Fire Behavior: Smoldering, with visible small flame lengths and creeping across the forest.

Smoke Impacts: Smoke is readily visible from I-17 since the fire is right next to the interstate. Smoke will increase this week and could impact the community of Mountainaire and Kachina since they are north of the fire’s location. Motorists should be cautious while traveling along I-17 near the fire (approximately milepost 331), as smoke could reduce visibility, and fire personnel will be working on and near the roads as management of the fire increases.

Closures: None currently.

Current Management Actions: In monitoring status until conditions become drier.

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