Coconino National Forest leadership has issued a temporary closure order for public safety for the Coldwater Fire area where interior pockets of unburned fuel will continue to have fire activity.
The temporary closure could be rescinded before the Sept. 1 expiration date if conditions warrant it. The closure was issued to ensure visitors to the forest are kept out of harm’s way as pockets of unburned forest fuels are scattered throughout the interior of the fire's perimeter.
The air attack coordinator flying on the Coldwater Fire Saturday spotted a drone within the Temporary Flight Restriction area and grounded the helicopter assigned to the fire until it was safe to resume any needed flying operations.
There is a TFR over the fire area, and it is illegal to operate a private drone near any wildfire. Saturday, the air attack, fixed-wing pilot, reported a private drone within the TFR. Drones near wildfires create a serious safety hazard for fire aircraft and result in aircraft being grounded immediately.
Travelers should prepare for and expect long delays and intermittent closures along state Route 87 from June 10-12 due the Coldwater Fire.
Firefighters working on the fire are planning to introduce low-intensity fire to areas adjacent to Route 87 between Route 260 and Lake Mary Road, beginning Monday. There will be intermittent highway closures to help ensure firefighter and public safety, so motorists should expect long delays.
The Coldwater Fire, approximately 4 miles south of Clints Well, was slowed yesterday by rain and thunderstorms which rolled through the Mogollon Rim area and are in the forecast for today.
Growth from yesterday’s burnout operations was minimal, with 50 acres being burned. This brings the total fire acres up to just under 2,300 acres.
Fire crews will continue to secure the fire area and conduct hazardous tree removal along sections of state Route 87. Arizona Department of Transportation is on scene to manage traffic, as needed, for cutting operations along Route 87.