An active monsoon season is in full swing across Coronado National Forest, bringing thunderstorms and with them the potential for lightning-ignited wildfires.
Precipitation may or may not accompany thunderstorms. “Dry” lightning without wetting rain can ignite wildfires, as has recently occurred across the Coronado National Forest, particularly on the Safford Ranger District. Such ignitions are expected to continue until significant rainfall reaches all parts of the Forest. To report smoke or a wildfire please call the Tucson Interagency Dispatch Center at (520) 202-2710.
Monsoonal activity continued to cross portions of both the northern and southern areas of the Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park this week, bringing varying amounts of rain and lightning to various areas throughout both the forest and park. Fire resources in both the North Zone and South Zone continue to respond to each lightning-caused fire as it is discovered and reported.
The Rain Fire on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest is showing an increase in activity and will continue to see additional growth over the next few days.
Operations were successful yesterday as fire consumed dead woody fuels from the forest floor. All containment lines held and objectives were successfully achieved. Burn out operations will continue over the next few shifts to protect identified values at risk within the planning area.
Fire managers with the Coconino National Forest are making use of four lightning-caused fires to benefit the landscape and maintain a healthy ecosystem by allowing these fires to fulfill their natural role and consume forest debris.
A new lightning-caused wildfire has ignited on the Williams Ranger District on the south side of Sitgreaves Mountain. It is currently burning in steep terrain within the 2014 Sitgreaves wildfire burn scar.
The Bald Fire is currently burning in ponderosa pine and does have the potential to expand over the next several days as monsoon moisture is forecasted to temporarily subside. An engine crew was on scene the day of discovery on July 22 and will continue to monitor fire behavior daily taking appropriate actions as necessary.
As monsoon storms move into southeastern Arizona, lightning strikes present the potential to ignite wildfires. Precipitation may or may not accompany lightning during these early stages of “monsoon season.”
“Dry lightning” is typical on Coronado National Forest this time of year. Fire managers prepare for it, and firefighters are ready to respond to fires.
On July 8, thunderstorms with lightning moved across the Santa Catalina Mountains, causing three ignitions. Firefighters assisted by aircraft responded quickly to evaluate and act on each incident.
North Zone fire personnel are responding to a lightning-caused wildfire in the vicinity of Sowats Point located on the North Kaibab Ranger District of Kaibab National Forest. The fire began shortly after 2 p.m. and is estimated to be approximately 20 acres.
Tonight the American Red Cross Northern Arizona Chapter has re-opened the shelter at the Mayer High School (17300 E. Mule Deer Drive, Mayer, AZ) to support those affected by evacuation orders in Spring Valley and Mayer.
The Red Cross would like to remind everyone to download the Red Cross Emergency app on their personal device. The Emergency app provides real-time and preparedness information, what to do during a flash flood.
About the American Red Cross:
What: Flash Flood Watch has been issued due to increased possibility thunderstorms will be capable of producing heavy rains resulting in flash flooding.
Where: Primarily Gila County, north and eastern potions of Maricopa County, and central and eastern Pinal County. Some cities include New River, Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Globe, Superior.
When: This afternoon through this evening. The Flash Flood Watch is in effect from 12 pm local until 12 am tonight.