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The Platypus and Rhino wildfires have experienced an increase in fire activity with the weather drying out and hotter temperatures returning in northern Arizona’s Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. 

The two fires are burning in hazardous and rugged terrain in the wilderness north of Sedona and are predicted to merge this week.

Fire managers will conduct burnout operations to minimize fire progression to the north and also prevent fire spread to the east into Bear Sign Canyon.

A new lightning caused wildfire that was discovered on August 25 on the Williams Ranger District will be allowed to move naturally to benefit the landscape. The 5 acre Perkins Fire is located approximately 2 miles southwest of White Horse Lake and is burning slowly in grass, ponderosa pine and oak litter near the junction of forest roads 109 and 110.

Fire activity has increased once again on the Platypus Fire with recent drying weather in the area. 

This fire is burning in extremely hazardous and rugged terrain in the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness north of Sedona. Few ground suppression efforts can be successful in this type of area and aerial firefighting resources are being prioritized and assigned to fires throughout the nation with an immediate need to protect life and property.

Firefighters and fire managers continue working to contain the Stina Fire, burning since July 26, 2018.  As fire suppression activities wind down, crews have begun the task of cleaning up after all their hard work. The task of mitigating the impact of the fight to stop the fire is referred to as “suppression repair”. 

The Stina Fire received additional moisture yesterday that is prompting a change in suppression tactics.  Prior to the rain, the suppression tactic was an indirect strategy of using road systems and dozer lines to burn off of to secure containment lines.  The strategy was in place as a safer way to control the fire due to the erratic fire behavior, thus not putting fire crews directly adjacent to the fire.

Although the area has received light to moderate precipitation and smoke might not be visible in the air, the risk of fire is still present. Fires in heavy mixed conifer can lay down and wait out rain and moisture, only to reemerge once the fuels dry out.Forecasters predict a drying trend through the weekend which could rejuvenate the fire.

The Cat Fire continues to spread slowly to the southeast, creeping along the forest floor and occasionally flaming up in areas where there are dense pockets of unburned fuel. 

“The fire is creating a mosaic of burned and unburned patches within the wilderness,” said North Kaibab District Ranger Randall Walker. “It’s doing what fire has naturally done here, enhancing the wilderness character and creating a diverse landscape.”

Resources:

Total of 102 personnel including two hotshot crews, nine engines, and two water tenders

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