The smoke from the Cross Fire cleared out of Sedona and the Verde Valley on Sunday, July 19, and Monday, July 20, with the arrival of the season’s first monsoon storms and a reduction in the size of the burn area.
Brian Supalla, of Yavapai County Community Health Services, said last week the county monitored smoke from the fire located 18 miles southeast of Williams but it did not pose a health threat.
However, Punky Moore, U.S. Forest Service fire information officer for the Kaibab National Forest, said the USFS is reducing the size of the area in which it will allow the fire to burn due to the smoke impact.
“It all depends on the weather and it all depends on the smoke dispersal,” Moore said.
Lightning ignited the Cross Fire on July 1 and since then USFS has managed the fire allowing it to burn. Originally, USFS planned to let the fire burn 12,000 to 15,000 acres but now that area has been reduced to 9,000 acres, according to Moore. On Monday, the fire was estimated at 7,425 acres.
On Saturday, July 18, Verde Valley residents woke up to suffocating smoke conditions, which Moore said prompted USFS to reduce the size of the area it will allow to burn.
“The past few days it [the weather] was very uncooperative,” Moore said.
If the storms keep coming and bring the wind with them, Moore said USFS could extend
the fire area back to 12,000 to 15,000 acres.
On Monday, fire crews lit fires from the air on both sides of Tule Canyon to prevent fire from spreading down a drainage and spreading upslope. The fire is being managed to provide safety for firefighters, reduce accumulation of fuel in forests, manage smoke production and return fire to a fire-dependent ecosystem.
There are no closures in Kaibab National Forest due to the fire.
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