Whiskey Fire to produce smoke southwest of Flagstaff this week

September 9, 2019 - 11:17 am

Wildland firefighters are managing the Whiskey Fire, a lightning-started fire reported on Sept. 2, burning on approximately 105 acres in Ponderosa pine about 15 miles southwest of Flagstaff within the footprint of the 2014 Slide Fire.

Fire managers are strategic when making decisions about how to manage a wildfire for restoration purposes.

When a wildfire begins in the forest, fire managers assess how best to use the fire as nature intended and whether or not to suppress it immediately. In the case of the Whiskey Fire, managers are using it as nature intended and allowing it to burn dense forest fuels across the landscape to help mitigate the possibility of severe wildfires in the future.

Fire managers will continue to assess the fire to determine the best course of action. Today’s operations will be similar to the last few days, where fire personnel continue to reinforce containment lines and monitor the fire for a change in fire behavior. Recent rains continue to aid fire personnel by creating excellent conditions for allowing the fire to burn slowly, consuming the forest debris at low intensities.

As temperatures drop in the evening, smoke impacts are possible to the communities of the Village of Oak Creek, Sedona, and surrounding areas. Smoke may also settle along the state Route 89A corridor. The greatest impacts will be during the early morning hours from midnight to 3 a.m. and should improve by mid-morning.

Forest users are advised to use caution when entering the proposed fire area. Firefighting vehicles and firefighters are present on roadways and smoke may reduce visibility. Parts of Forest Road 231 may be closed periodically to allow for firefighting equipment and operations. Please reduce speed and remain alert.

The Whiskey Fire will be active for weeks to come. Due to safety concerns for the public and firefighters, campers should not set up long-term campsites near the fire area.


Whiskey Fire Inciweb site: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6580/

Discovery date: Sept. 2, 2019.

Cause: Lightning.

Containment: 0 percent.

Origin location: Approximately 15 miles southwest of Flagstaff (Latitude/Longitude: 35° 2.652N, 111° 50.394W).

Current size: 105 acres.

Current resources: One engine and fire prevention unit. Approximately 15 personnel. Resources will increase tomorrow as fire activity and burnout operations increase.

Predicted smoke impacts: Expect increased smoke production over the next few days, impacting Flagstaff, Lake Mary and Kachina Village. Communities at lower elevations, such as Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona and Village of Oak Creek may also experience smoke impacts in the evening and overnight as smoke drains into those areas. Firefighter, public safety, and ecosystem health remain the top priorities for fire managers while keeping the fire within the planning area. Smoke may appear thicker at times due to burnout operations or as the wildfire consumes larger trees. This is normal.

Current closures: None currently, but a closure around the fire area is anticipated soon, and parts of Forest Road 231 may be closed periodically to allow for safe firefighting operations.

Recent and current operations: Wildland firefighting crews are conducting burnout operations to ensure it remains in the planning area. Current operations are taking place along Forest Road 231.