Three nearby wildfires are filling Sedona and the Verde Valley with smoke, especially in the morning.
Coconino National Forest fire officials are allowing three lightning-caused fires to burn to reduce underbrush and prevent future wildfires, according to a press release.
- The Cowboy Fire is the nearest and, as of Monday, May 31, had burned 2,139 acres. Begun May 17, it is located immediately east of Interstate 17 near milepost 331, the Kelly Canyon Road exit, on the Coconino Plateau.
Motorists in the area should use caution and slow down while driving on forest roads near the fire, as fire personnel and equipment will be present.
This fire will increase in size, and wildland firefighters will be conducting burnout operations as the fire moves south.
According to fire officials, smoke is lighter than that of a severe wildfire. Smoke has been settling in valleys and canyons at night and drifting to the north and east during the day.
Crews include two engines, their crews and five additional personnel. Total personnel is approximately 15.
The proposed management area is 3,425 acres.
- The Mormon Fire has burned 2,167 acres. Begun May 17, the fire is located six miles east of Munds Park near Mormon Mountain. Officials have closed the area between Mormon Lake and Munds Park, north of the intersections of Forest Roads 700 and 240.
The public is prohibited from entering any trails, roads or areas within the fire closure area until Sunday, June 26, or until the order is rescinded, whichever comes first.
“The firefighters on scene are taking all measures to protect people, sensitive wildlife and other values which may be at risk,” said George Jozens, deputy public affairs officer for the Coconino National Forest. “This lightning-caused wildfire is adding the frequent, low severity fire to restore wildlife habitat, promote healthy vegetation, reduce fuels and the risk of severe fire, and create safer conditions for residents, visitors and firefighters.”
Crews include the Mormon Lake Hotshots the Plumas Hotshots, one Type 2 fuels crew, two Type 3 engines, three Type 6 engines, one bulldozer, their crews and 20 other personnel. Total personnel is approximately 135.
The proposed management area is 11,664 acres.
- The Pivot Rock Fire has burned 3,708 acres. Begun May 19, the fire is located 3.25 miles northeast of the intersections of State Routes 87 and 260, eight miles northeast of the towns of Pine and Strawberry, on the Mogollon Rim Ranger District.
Crews include the Blue Ridge Hotshots, six Type 6 engines, one Type 3 engine, one bulldozer, one water tender, their crews and 15 other personnel. Total personnel is approximately 90.
The proposed management area is 8,209 acres.
Though the largest fire in the region, it is the farthest away, making the least impact on Sedona and the Verde Valley.
According to Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Yavapai County air quality has diminished to the “Moderate” level.
According to Portable Particulate Monitors at 310 Forest Road in Sedona, air quality numbers reached the high end of the “Moderate” range at 76 particle pollution.
At this level of particulates in the air, the Yavapai County Community Health Services staff does not recommend you spend too much time outside.
“As long as you can still see things that are five to 10 miles away, you can be reasonably sure you won’t have a medical emergency caused by smoke inhalation,” said David McAtee, YCCCHS public information officer.
“Conditions are being monitored and communities will be alerted as needed. If you start to feel sick or faint, contact your doctor immediately.”
Residents can help their communities by checking on neighbors, especially if the neighbor lives alone, is elderly or may have heart or lung condition.
Limit your time outside and avoid exercising outdoors as much as possible.
Information and details about the fires, can be followed via @CoconinoNF on Twitter. Report smoke impacts online at tinyurl.com/cof-smokerpt and get more information about all wildfires on the InciWeb website.