If needed for safety, parts of I-40, I-17, other routes will close until snow abates
With a major winter storm forecast to create “very difficult to impossible” driving conditions in the high country from late Thursday until Friday morning, the Arizona Department of Transportation will close affected highways for safety until snowfall abates and roadways are safe for travel.
Coconino National Forest and Arizona State Forestry personnel are holding the northeast section of the Tinder Fire as the winds arrive today and continue into the weekend.
Helicopter efforts from yesterday appear to be suppressing any spread in the northeast section of the fire. Ground crews are in place to extinguish any fire which may try to jump the current fire lines or create a spot fire outside of them.
State Route 87 has reopened about 30 miles south of Winslow after the Tinder Fire had forced a 22-mile segment of the highway to close, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. SR 87 had been closed from milepost 290 at Clints Well to milepost 312, two miles north of the Elks Park Picnic Grounds.
Drivers should still use caution as firefighting operations continue in the area.
Resources: 625 personnel including 14 crews, 7 helicopters, 44 engines, 7 dozers, 13 water tenders, and other support personnel
Snow and rain over the fire area yesterday significantly helped limit fire activity. Heavy fuels, like logs, continue to smolder and hold heat. As warmer, drier conditions return over the next few days, remaining heat within the fire’s perimeter still has the potential to spread.
The Tinder Fire has grown to an estimated 11,420 acres and is zero percent contained. The cause of the fire is unknown and still under investigation. The Tinder fire started April 27, about 1.5 miles northeast of Blue Ridge Reservoir on the Coconino National Forest. Resources include 559 personnel, including 15 crews, six helicopters, 40 engines, three dozers, 10 watertenders and overhead.
A prescribed burn project is planned tonight on the Coconino National Forest in the Mogollon Rim Ranger District, approximately seven miles southeast of Mormon Lake.
Weather and ventilation is forecasted tomorrow to transport and disperse smoke toward the northeast, which may impact Winslow.
Prescribed burns are always dependent upon weather and wind conditions, which can differ drastically across the forest. Prescribed burns are also subject to approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, so this burn could be canceled if conditions are not suitable.