Cellar Fire pushing into ponderosa pine, Type 1 team assigned
Code Red issued for Pine Flat community
The Prescott National Forest (PNF) has upgraded its management of the Cellar Fire, a wildfire that was started by lightning near Wagoner on Sunday, July 14.
At about 7,000 acres as of Wednesday morning, the blaze has moved from mostly grass and brush to thick ponderosa pine west of Senator Highway, said Debbie Maneely, a PNF spokesperson.
"Unfortunately, this is a part of the forest we have not done any fuels treatment, so there are a lot of fuels in there to burn," Maneely said.
Given the fire's size and potential risk to populated areas, a Type 1 Incident Management Team has been called in to take over the suppression operation. The team is scheduled to take command at 6 a.m. Thursday, July 18.
"They'll have the skillsets, resources, and the folks to look at this and make a strategic suppression plan on it," Maneely said Wednesday morning. "Right now we're just using a Type 3 team, which is mostly just local resources except for the hotshot crews that are here."
Six hotshot crews, two air tankers, three helicopters, two dozers and six fire engines are currently working the fire.
Crews were able to make good progress establishing an anchor point at the southwest corner of the fire Tuesday night, and ground resources continued working on direct line construction with the use of air support throughout Wednesday, Maneely said.
“As we work on a closure order for the incident, we ask that folks stay off Senator Highway (FS Road 52) and County Road 177,” she said.
As a precaution, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office issued a Code Red for the community of Pine Flat. The ‘SET’ alert was issued Tuesday night, but no evacuations are currently in effect.
A Code Red has also been issued for the communities of Walker, Groom Creek, Wolf Creek, Potato Patch and Indian Creek. The ‘READY’ alert was issued Wednesday afternoon, but once again there are no mandatory evacuations in place for these areas.
For information on the Code Reds issued, call 928-771-3321.
To protect firefighters and emergency responders, the following road closures have been implemented on the Bradshaw Ranger District:
• At the junction of Forest Road 52 and Forest Road 261 south to the junction of Forest Road 52 and Forest Road 361; following Forest Road 52 east to Crown King.
• Mayer-Bolander Road (County Road 177) is closed from the western boundary of Pine Flat west to Forest Road 52 (Senator Highway).
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Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105.
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