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Sun, Oct. 20

Update: Johnson Fire tops 200 acres; evacuations lifted
Surprise Fire no longer a concern

Prescott resident Joy Jordan, who lives about 3 miles north of the courthouse plaza, shared this image Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, of smoke to the south of the city rising from a new fire. The blaze is near Lookout Mountain and the town of Walker. (Courtesy)

Prescott resident Joy Jordan, who lives about 3 miles north of the courthouse plaza, shared this image Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, of smoke to the south of the city rising from a new fire. The blaze is near Lookout Mountain and the town of Walker. (Courtesy)

UPDATE, Sept. 23, at 12:30 p.m.:

The evacuation orders have been lifted.

Recent weather changes are allowing the removal of the current evacuation for the communities of Lookout Mountain and Maverick Mountain areas, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Fire crews remain in the area.

The 'Ready Message' for the communities of Walker, Groom Creek, and Potato Patch has also been lifted.

UPDATE, Sept. 23, at 8 a.m.:

The Johnson Fire, which is 8 miles south of Prescott, on the Bradshaw Ranger District of the Prescott National Forest, has burned approximately 200 acres and has zero containment.

The cause is under investigation, forest officials said Monday morning.

Sunday night the fire was active on the north end as it burned in heavy dead and down timber. Due to the terrain and remote location firefighters will focus Monday on road access into the fire area and will continue structure assessment and locate potential hazards like mine shafts in the fire area.

Due to the location, values at risk, terrain and fuel loading, Gesser’s Type 2 Incident Management Team will take command of the Johnson Fire on Tuesday.

Resources on the fire are: nine engines, two dozers, one Type 2 crew, two Type 3 helicopters, air attack aircraft and miscellaneous overhead personnel. Officials expect more resources to arrive Monday, including five Type 1 hotshot crews, two helicopters, and air tankers as needed.

CLOSURES

South end Ponderosa Park to Lower Wolf Creek; Lower Wolf Creek to Senator Highway; Senator Highway (Forest Road 52) from Sky Y Camp at end of the pavement to Palace Station.

EVACUATIONS

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Code Red Alert – GO for residents located in the Look Out Mountain/Maverick Mountain areas. For assistance or questions, please call 928-771-3260. The evacuation shelter is at Prescott High School.

In the interest of safety, the public is asked to not travel in the vicinity of Ponderosa Park, Lower Wolf Creek, and the community of Potato Patch as firefighters and fire-related traffic will be traveling in the area.

ORIGINAL POST:

PRESCOTT — Firefighters responded to a report of smoke at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, about 8 miles south of Prescott. The result, hours later, is the 100-acre Johnson Fire burning in brush, pinyon and some timber near Lookout Mountain.

Firefighters and air attack are on scene assessing fuels conditions and values at risk, the Prescott National Forest reported.

However, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office issued a CodeRed “GO” order at about 4:30 p.m. calling for mandatory evacuation of the Lookout Mountain and Maverick areas because of the fire risk.

The CodeRed states: “This is a GO message from the Sheriff’s Office. There is a wildfire threatening. A mandatory evactuation has been issued for residents located in the Look Out Mt/Maverick Mt areas. There is a significant danger to you, gather necessary items and go.”

A shelter is available at Prescott High School on Ruth Street. For assistance, call 928-771-3260 or 911.

Smoke from the Johnson Fire is visible from Prescott and other communities.

Current resources on it include four engines, two helicopters, air attack aircraft and miscellaneous overhead personnel. Several resources have been ordered including two heavy air tankers, one very large air tanker, two helicopters and additional crews, forest officials stated.

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Kathy Naifeh shared this image, taken Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at about 4 p.m. They were driving on Senator Highway near the drive-in. (Courtesy)

CURRENT ROAD CLOSURES

South end Ponderosa Park to Lower Wolf Creek; Lower Wolf Creek to Senator Highway; Senator Highway (Forest Road 52) from Sky Y Camp at end of the pavement to Palace Station.

In the interest of safety, the public is asked to not travel in the vicinity of Ponderosa Park, Lower Wolf Creek, and the community of Potato Patch as firefighters and fire-related traffic will be working in the area.

The public can obtain additional information via the following:

• Fire Information, 928-925-1111

• Prescott NF Forest Website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/prescott/

• Twitter: @PrescottNF

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PrescottNF/

• Local Ranger Station: Bradshaw Ranger District, 928-443-8000.

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The Johnson Fire is in the area of Lookout Mountain, south of Prescott, near Walker. (YCSO/Courtesy)

SURPRISE FIRE

This is not to be confused with the Surprise Fire in the Granite Basin Recreation Area, west of Prescott. It is approximately 210 acres with zero containment. However, favorable weather conditions allowed completion of burning operations along the west side of Granite Basin Road on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Prescott National Forest officials stated Sunday morning that firefighters will remain on the scene of the Surprise Fire, monitoring and begin mopping up along Granite Basin Road. Resources assigned to the fire are three engines and one paramedic team.

The Surprise Fire poses no danger or threat to any residents or structures, according to a news release. Smoke may still be visible to motorists traveling in the area and residents of Prescott as interior fuels continue to burn.

The following closures are in place on the Surprise Fire for public and firefighter safety. Yavapai Campground will be closed until Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019; along with Trail #349, Balancing Rock Trail and Trail #350, Surprise Spring Trail.

Granite Basin Road, Granite Basin Lake, Day-Use Areas and trails in the Granite Basin Recreation Area will remain open; however, forest visitors should expect delays and possible temporary area closures due to firefighters working on the roadway and smoke.

Forest Officials ask visitors to consider using alternative locations to recreate over the weekend to avoid impacts from smoke, and to allow firefighters to work safely.

Information provided by the Prescott National Forest.

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The Surprise Fire's boundaries in the Granite Basin area, on the west side of Prescott, as of Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (Prescott National Forest/Courtesy)

Click HERE to read the day's original posts about the fires.

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or twieds@prescottaz.com.

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