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Friday, May 30, 2014

Slide Fire at 21,000 acres, 55% contained

UPDATE - Slide Fire


Mormon Lake Hotshots monitor the progress of the Slide Fire in the Coconino National Forest. The community of Mountainaire could be threatened by the still-growing blaze (Photo by Brady Smith/U.S. Forest Service)
 
SIZE:  Approximately 21,067 acres; 55% containment

AIR QUALITY:  Strong southerly wind flow overnight Wednesday weakened typical downslope winds, which allowed more smoke to be near the Flagstaff area during the morning hours on Thursday.  Heavy smoke impacts were observed in the upper Verde Valley around Sedona before light rainfall and breezy winds in the mid to late morning helped clear the air.  The rain and wind also improved the air quality in Flagstaff.

The cooler and moist air mass reduced daytime lift of smoke. Consequently, additional smoke from smoldering and possible unburnt interior fuels is more likely to reduce air quality between Flagstaff and Sedona tonight and Friday morning.

A warmer and drier weather pattern with increasing daytime southwesterly winds will begin Friday afternoon and continue into the weekend, especially on Saturday.  Modeled trajectories show Friday afternoon smoke moving north and northeastward.  Dispersion and ventilation of daytime smoke will improve, but early morning downslope winds carrying smoke into the upper Verde Valley is expected to continue.

For up-to-date monitoring information for particulate matter, visit the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Web page for Portable Particulate Monitors, http://www.phoenixvis.net/PPMmain.aspx.

EVACUATIONS:  The Coconino County Sheriff's Office, in coordination with area federal and local agencies, lifted the mandatory evacuation order at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 29, for residents evacuated north of Slide Rock State Park.  At that time, Hwy 89A reopened to residents and business owners only to allow them to assess their properties.  Sheriff's deputies will continue to operate the roadblock at Slide Rock State Park; residents will be required to present an ID to verify their residency before being allowed to enter.

Access to Hwy 89A north of Slide Rock will be restricted until 6:00 p.m. on Friday to allow residents time to assess their properties and begin cleanup of household debris.  The roadway will remain closed at the Pine Flats Campground north to the overlook at the switchbacks.

Smoke will continue to be an immediate issue for many Sedona-area residents.  The Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) advises the public to curtail outdoor activity and to monitor smoke levels.

CLOSURES:  Due to increasing fire danger, the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests will implement Stage II fire restrictions on Friday, May 30, at 8:00 a.m.  Visit Arizona Fire Restrictions at http://firerestrictions.us/az.  The Coconino National Forest has issued an emergency closure on all National Forest System lands within the area of the Slide Fire on the Coconino National Forest, in Coconino and Yavapai Counties.  To view the Order and map of the fire closure area, visit:  http://tinyurl.com/mzja5rd.

The following areas remain closed:  Hwy 89A from Sedona to Ft. Tuthill, Forest Road (FR) 535 at Hwy 89A, FR 533 at Hwy 89A, FR 231 at Rogers Lake, FR 527 & 530 (west side, Volunteer Canyon area), and Casner Mountain closed to all vehicles.

FIRE ACTIVITIES:  On Thursday, crews on all areas of the fire perimeter continue chipping, patrol, and rehabilitation efforts.  Internal areas of unburned fuel may continue to smolder, producing light to moderate smoke.

INFORMATION:  For detailed fire information, visit the Incident Management System (InciWeb).  For information regarding fire restrictions, visit Arizona Fire Restrictions at http://firerestrictions.us/az or Arizona Fire Prevention & Information (fire restrictions & red flag alerts) at http://wildlandfire.az.gov.

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