crews progress, forest closures begin, high winds, thunderstorms in anticipation

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FOREST CLOSURES

Forest Service officials will temporarily close certain areas of the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests beginning Friday and Saturday due to fire risk.

In the Kaibab National Forest, the Bill Williams Mountain area will close starting at 8 a.m. In the Coconino National Forest, the Pumphouse Wash/Kelly Canyon and Fisher Point/Walnut Canyon areas will close Saturday at 8 a.m.

Within the Fisher Point/Walnut Canyon closure area, all logging roads and recreational sites within the area will be closed. This includes Fisher Point, Marshal Lake, portions of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, Canyon Vista Campground, Sandys Canyon Trail #137, and more.

These area closures are in addition to the already implemented emergency closure of most of the Coconino National Forest north of Interstate 40.

All other parts of the National Forests outside of the closure areas remain under Tier 2 fire restrictions. Specific closure areas can be found on the Coconino and Kaibab National Forest websites and Twitter feeds, and at www.knau.org.

PIPELINE AND YELLOW UPDATES

Crews continue to make progress on the Pipeline and Haywire fires burning near Flagstaff. Calmer winds on Thursday caused an overall decrease in fire behavior.

Firefighters were able to take advantage of lighter winds by using aircraft for suppression efforts. Today winds are expected to pick up with a red flag warning in effect and gusts up to 50 mph. This may affect firefighting operations.

The pipeline fire has burned at least 25,000 acres and is 31% contained according to Inciweb’s latest update. A morning update is expected soon.

Meanwhile, the Haywire Fire has burned at least 5,300 acres and is 11% contained according to Thursday night figures. Fire managers describe fire behavior as burning, retreating, and flanking a single tree.

FIRE AND FLOOD SIREN TEST AT THE MUSEUM FRIDAY

On Friday, Flagstaff officials will test a siren designed to alert people in the museum’s flooded area.

It will be tested at full volume from 12:00 to 2:00 and will include an alarm sound followed by a voice message repeated three times in English and Spanish, ending with a relaxing siren sound.

Officials say the process may repeat itself several times and the test may be postponed due to weather conditions or a forest fire.

The system is intended to provide additional alerts to residents of the Grandview Homes and Sunnyside neighborhoods. The sirens go off if three-quarters of an inch of rain falls on the burn scar within 15 minutes.

All residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts at www.coconino.az.gov/ready.

FISH FIRE ON APACHE SITGREAVES

Crews in northeast Arizona continue to battle the Fish Fire burning in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

The fire is burning in the Alpine District southwest of Hannagan Meadows on Highway 191. It is estimated to have burned at least 1,900 acres.

Smoke attributed to the Fish Fire may be visible in Round Valley, Alpine, AZ, and Reserve, NM.

An interactive smoke map is available at https://fire.airnow.gov/.

CRITICAL FIRE TIME

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning and wind advisory for much of the region today with critical fire weather forecasts.

Sustained southerly winds between 20 and 3 miles are expected, with gusts up to 50 mph. Scattered thunderstorms and rain showers will begin today, mostly in eastern Arizona, with more widespread activity Saturday and Sunday.

Smoke impacts will likely continue from pipeline, Haywire and fish fires.

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