Platypus Fire activity increases

August 30, 2018 - 9:08 am

Fire activity has increased once again on the Platypus Fire with recent drying weather in the area. 

This fire is burning in extremely hazardous and rugged terrain in the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness north of Sedona. Few ground suppression efforts can be successful in this type of area and aerial firefighting resources are being prioritized and assigned to fires throughout the nation with an immediate need to protect life and property.

As the Platypus Fire increases in size it is moving closer to forest roads and trails allowing for some ground suppression efforts. Coconino National Forest firefighters are predicting to burnout fuels on Thursday and Friday which will increase smoke in the area.

Thunderstorms predicted at the end of the week may result in erratic smoke patterns and precipitation may further suppress these wildfires.

1. PLATYPUS FIRE OVERVIEW (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6061/)

Discovery date: July 28, 2018.

Cause: Lightning.

Location: Approximately 6 miles northwest of Sedona in Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness more than 4 miles from the nearest trailhead. (Lat/Long: 34.94291, -111.8701)

Current size: The Platypus Fire is approximately 1,250 acres and is actively burning the remains of the 1994 Lost Fire.

Resources: Patrols and local lookouts are monitoring the fire. Crews are assigned as needed.

Predicted smoke impacts: The fire is producing smoke from heavy fuels and is moving up, east and throughout canyons in the area. Smoke is visible from Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon and other areas. Smoke dispersing to the east may settle in Flagstaff and surrounding low-level areas as the temperatures cool down. Also, the Enchantment Resort, Boyton Canyon, Seven Canyons can expect localized smoke, which is thicker in the early morning hours.

Current closures: Secret Mountain Trail No. 109 (http://bit.ly/SecretMtnTrail).

Recent and current operations: Burn out operations may be possible Thursday and Friday to remove the fuels outside of the wilderness. Because this fire is in an extremely rugged section of the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness at the edge of sheer cliffs, fire managers have limited operations to monitoring fire activity. For safety reasons, all firefighters assigned to work in the area will be conducting operations outside of the rugged areas of the wilderness. 

2. RHINO FIRE OVERVIEW (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6061/)

Discovery date: July 28, 2018.

Cause: Lightning.

Location: Approximately 8 miles northwest of Sedona in Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness on South Pocket. (Lat/Long:34.970900, -111.859100)

Current size: The Rhino Fire is approximately 353 acres.

Resources: Occasional patrols and lookouts are monitoring this fire.

Predicted smoke impacts: Very light, if any, smoke is being produced and it is moving to the east. Smoke dispersing to the east may settle in Kachina Village and surrounding low-level areas.

Current closures: Secret Mountain Trail No. 109 (http://bit.ly/SecretMtnTrail).

Recent and current operations: Precipitation from recent thunderstorms has fallen on this fire, helping to keep fire activity low.   A fire line was built to contain a recent 2.5 acres of growth near South Pocket.

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