Saber Fire is growing slowly, cleaning the landscape

August 14, 2019 - 11:20 am
The Saber Fire produced minimal smoke Tuesday as it grew to 75 acres while it continued to move slowly across the landscape within the 2009 Taylor Fire burn scar. 
Fire managers are pleased with the observed fire effects. The Saber Fire is consuming and eliminating hazardous dead and down forest fuels left behind from the Taylor Fire. Hazardous fuels include snags, fallen trees and thick brush. Reduction of these excess fuels will reduce to the likelihood of severe wildfires moving through the area in the future.
Today, crews will remove fuels around the Turkey Butte lookout and along the Arizona Public Service (APS) high voltage electrical powerlines in preparation for anticipated firing operations later this week. Removing fuels allows firefighters to safely conduct low intensity ignition operations to eliminate sources of fuel around these values at risk, ahead of the fire, in order to secure and protect infrastructure and powerlines. 
Firefighters will continue to scout and prepare contingency lines around the planned fire perimeter to ensure the fire remains within the predetermined planning area.
Fire managers do not anticipate a significant increase in smoke impacts over the next few days. Smoke will lift during the day and may be visible from Sedona, Verde Valley, Oak Creek Canyon, state Route 89A, Interstate 40, Interstate 17 and Flagstaff. Smoke may settle overnight into drainages and canyons flowing into communities at lower elevations below the Mogollon Rim.
The public should avoid the immediate fire area near Turkey Butte and drive with caution in the forest as smoke may impact visibility where wildland firefighters are working.
Updates about the Saber Fire can be found on Inciweb. Follow the Coconino National Forest’s social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to get timely updates on this fire, other incidents, and forest-wide activities.
  • Discovery date: August 2, 2019.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Origin location: Approximately 1.5 miles south of Turkey Butte lookout tower (Latitude/Longitude: 35.011°N, 111.901W).
  • Current size: 75 acres inside of a 12,495-acre planning area.
  •  Current resources: Four engines, a crew, a dozer and overhead personnel. Total personnel: approximately 36.
  • Predicted smoke impacts: Expect smoke production to increase over the next few days. Significant smoke may impact forest roads south of Flagstaff and west of Interstate 17. The smoke may be seen by people in Flagstaff, motorists on I-17, I-40 and SR 89A. Smoke will likely impact areas of Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona communities during cooler evening hours.
  • Current closures: None. However, campers should not establish any camps near the Mogollon Rim close to Turkey Butte due to upcoming burnout operations.
  • Recent and current operations: Wildland firefighting crews are preparing control lines using a dozer and backburning along forest roads near the Mogollon rim.