Platypus Wildfire activity increases

September 13, 2018 - 1:57 pm

The Platypus and Rhino wildfires have experienced an increase in fire activity with the weather drying out and hotter temperatures returning in northern Arizona’s Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. 

The two fires are burning in hazardous and rugged terrain in the wilderness north of Sedona and are predicted to merge this week.

Fire managers will conduct burnout operations to minimize fire progression to the north and also prevent fire spread to the east into Bear Sign Canyon.

Residents in Flagstaff, Fort Tuthill, Sedona, Village of Oak Creek, Winona and surrounding areas should expect an increase in smoke. Residents in low lying areas should expect heavier smoke during the nighttime and early morning hours.


Discovery date: July 28, 2018.

Cause: Lightning.

Location: Approximately 6 miles northwest of Sedona in Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. (Lat/Long:34.94291, -111.8701)

Current size: The Platypus/Rhino Fire is approximately 2,350 acres and is actively burning the remains of the 1994 Lost Fire.

Resources: Currently there are five engines, a water tender, a dozer, two hand crews and ten miscellaneous overhead assigned to the fire. As operations dictate and additional resources become available the number of personnel assigned may fluctuate.

Predicted smoke impacts: The fire is producing smoke from heavy fuel loading making it visible from Sedona to Flagstaff during the day, smoke is expected to disperse to the northeast towards Flagstaff and settle in low lying areas during the nighttime and early morning hours.

Current closures: Secret Mountain Trail No. 109 (

Recent and current operations: Crews will continue to prepare and use a combination of existing roads, natural barriers, constructed fire control lines and burnout operations to control fire progression to the north and the east. No fire growth has been detected, or is anticipated, toward the south.