Smoke from two fires near the Payson area are producing smoke affecting Sedona and the Verde Valley, especially in the morning after cooler temperatures have caused smoke to settle into low-lying areas.
■ The Sam Jim Fire is burning 1,191 acres four miles south of Chevelon Lake. Started by lightning on Sunday, Sept. 4, the fire is burning ponderosa pine and mixed conifer with a grass understory.
The blaze is now 40 percent contained by 43 personnel. Over the weekend, crews worked to contain the fire on the east, west and south ends of the fire containing within the boundary of Forest Road 170.
The north end of the fire is in steep canyon country with a high occurrence of snags. Due to steep, unstable terrain firefighters are unable to reach many areas, so crews are monitoring the fire.
If you have any further questions contact the Black Mesa Ranger District at (928) 535-7300.
■ The Fulton Fire is burning on about 500 acres 28 miles east of Payson, south of State Route 260. Lightning ignited the fire Monday, Sept. 12. The blaze is now 15 percent contained by 265 personnel under direction of Incident Commander Andy Mandell, consistently of four Type 1 Hotshot teams, two Type 2 IA teams, eight engines, two bulldozers and 1 Type-3 helicopter.
Eastbound State Route 260 between Christopher Creek and Forest Lakes was reduced to one lane intermittently due to smoke and to create a safer environment for firefighting efforts.
The Mogollon Rim Visitor Center on the Black Mesa Ranger District was closed beginning Wednesday, Sept. 14, due to fire activity. Check the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Web site for visitor center updates.
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