Whiskey Fire using helicopter for burnout ops today

September 18, 2019 - 12:26 pm

Fire managers on the Whiskey Fire have will be using a helicopter to perform aerial ignitions to supplement the efforts of firefighters conducting hand ignition burnouts today which will produce large volumes of smoke going northeast.

Utilizing a helicopter to conduct aerial burnout operations in remote and steep sections of the fire area reduces risk to firefighters working on the ground. Ignitions are important to secure control lines and keep the fire within the predetermined containment area. Today’s firing operation is expected to produce a significant amount of smoke for the next several days. The Whiskey Fire is currently 4,190 acres.

Persons planning to travel near the fire area should expect delays and alternate routes as identified. Fire patrols are present to guide forest visitors to alternative routes in the event of a temporary road closure. Smoke will be present, so turn your headlights on for safety.

Smoke is expected to spread to the northeast today and tomorrow moving more to the north. Smoke may affect areas including Flagstaff, Munds Park, Mountainaire, Kachina Village, Forest Highlands, Doney Park, Mormon Lake Village, Highway 89A Corridor, Sedona, Village of Oak Creek and portions of Interstate 40. Firefighters will attempt to reduce impacts to the public as much as possible. However, there are no perfect weather conditions or tactics that exist to remove smoke impacts entirely from a fire.

For more information, including smoke forecasts for the Whiskey Fire, updates concerning closures and notable fire activity please visit the Whiskey Fire InciWeb site https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6580/ Quick updates will also be provided on the Coconino National Forest’s Twitter and Facebook sites, and the Forest’s website at www.coconinonationalforest.us


  • Whiskey Fire Inciweb site: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6580/
  • Discovery date: Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Containment: 16 percent.
  • Origin location: Approximately 15 miles southwest of Flagstaff (Latitude/Longitude: 35° 2.652N, 111° 50.394W).
  • Current size: 4,190 acres.
  • Current resources: Four engines, one fuels crew, one dozer, four fire prevention unit, and various firefighting personnel. Approximately 80 people.
  • Predicted smoke impacts: Large amounts of smoke will be produced 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: Expected closures around the fire area is anticipated and parts of forest roads in the area 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.