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Coconino National Forest officials believe lightning on Thursday, July 17, is the cause of a fire south of Flagstaff between Interstate 17 and Oak Creek Canyon, near the Willard Springs interchange.

Smoke from the Willard Fire rises above Willson Mountain around 1:40 p.m. The fire is near to Interstate 17 near the Willard Springs exit and is not threatening Oak Creek Canyon.Smoke could be seen from West Sedona, I-17, Sedona, Munds Park, Kachina Village and Oak Creek Vista. Preliminary reports stated the fire had burned 2,000 acre as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 22.

The fire is several miles east of the canyon and is not threatening it.

The immediate fire area is closed for public safety, but no other road or trail closures are in place at this time. Visitors in the area should be cautious of fire crews and equipment.

The U.S. Forest Service stated that these types of smaller fires actually benefit the forest and accomplish several objectives including restoring wildlife habitat, promoting health vegetation and reducing fuels and the risk of severe fire.


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