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Sat, Sept. 18

Tiger Fire is 59% contained; closure limited to small area

Prescott National Forest officials have ordered a restricted area consisting of all National Forest System lands, roads and trails within the boundary shown as of Thursday, July 15, 2021. (PNF/Courtesy)

Prescott National Forest officials have ordered a restricted area consisting of all National Forest System lands, roads and trails within the boundary shown as of Thursday, July 15, 2021. (PNF/Courtesy)

Management of the Tiger Fire, which started 11 miles east of Crown King as a result of lightning on June 30, and was reported as 59% contained as of Thursday morning, July 15, has transitioned to a Type 4 Team as of July 15.

(The Tiger Fire, in a check of its status online Thursday evening, remains at 59% contained.)

As of Thursday morning, the fire had consumed 16,278 acres. Early morning rain on Wednesday arrived over the Tiger Fire footprint, bringing wetting rains over the perimeter until mid-morning. Amounts of rain recorded in the fire area varied from between 0.01 to 0.6 inches. These amounts further suppressed activity on the fire, and will allow the fire scar to begin new growth. Future rain events do have the possibility of flooding if larger amounts of rainfall occur.

Although there is no threat of fire spread or potential growth, firefighters will continue to patrol and monitor containment lines by ground and air. Equipment removal along Crown King Road (County Road 59) was completed on Wednesday allowing for a reduced fire-area closure. Visitors are reminded to obey all traffic signs and use caution when traveling along County Road 59 as firefighters and fire-related traffic will be in the area.

A Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has been established to begin a burned-area assessment of the Tiger wildfire. BAER assessments are rapid evaluations of the burned area to identify unacceptable risks on National Forest Service lands from post-fire threats. The team’s focus is on the emergency actions necessary to protect life and safety, property and critical natural and cultural resources on NFS lands. The team also shares burned-area information from the assessment with other federal, state and local agencies with post-fire responsibilities on state and private lands both within and downstream of burned areas, including Flood Control District, Emergency Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Weather Service (NWS), and.

The Tiger fire is primarily located within rugged and remote terrain associated within the Castle Creek Wilderness. Preliminary evaluation of the fire scar does not suggest downstream post-fire flooding risks to the public.

The BAER Team will evaluate burn severity, which reflects how the fire has altered soil properties, which influences post-fire flooding and soil-erosion rates. Initial evaluation has suggested minimal post-fire values at risk, and fire behavior indicates the probability of lower burn severity.

Lands affiliated with the Bureau of Land Management will not undergo a post fire analysis because of no identified values at risk.

The Yavapai Flood Control district will work in conjunction with the BAER team through the analysis, but at this time they have not identified post-fire flood concerns. As is customary from post-fire rain events, the public should expect to see downstream transportation of ash.

BAER teams consist of scientists and specialists including hydrologists, geologists, soil scientists, engineers, ecologists, biologists, archeologists and geographic information specialists (GIS). The teams collect data during ground surveys and complete GIS and modelling to evaluate the post-fire risks.

The first step in the BAER assessment process is taking satellite imagery and data collected during ground surveys to produce a soil burn severity map. The soil burn severity provides the baseline information to determine changed watershed conditions for assessing potential watershed impacts from wildfires. This information is then compiled to determine if a post-fire emergency occurs. The order of emergency response strategies includes natural recovery, administrative closure, then land treatments if unacceptable risks are identified.

REMINDER: The Tiger Fire Area Closure is still in effect on the Prescott National Forests. Detailed information and a map are available on Inciweb at Tiger Fire Information - InciWeb the Incident Information System (nwcg.gov).

CLOSURES

Fire managers have reduced the Tiger Fire Emergency Area Closure. Castle Creek Wilderness and Horsethief Basin Recreation Area will remain closed for public safety. The community of Crown King and all roads leading into Crown King are open.

To provide for public and firefighter health and safety because of firefighting operations and fire danger associated with the Tiger Fire on the Prescott National Forest, PNF officials have ordered a restricted area consisting of all National Forest System lands, roads and trails within the boundary starting at the intersection of County Road 59 and the National Forest boundary, proceeding south along the National Forest boundary for approximately 10 miles, then following the National Forest boundary west for approximately 8 miles, then following northeast along National Forest System Trail 233 for approximately 5 miles to its intersection with National Forest System Road (NFSR) 100, then following NFSR 100 northwest 2 miles, to its intersection with NFSR 52, then following NFSR 52 northwest for approximately 3 miles to its intersection with County Road 59, then following Country Road 59 northwest 15 miles back to the point of beginning at its intersection with the NF boundary.

Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this order:

1 - Persons with a written Forest Service authorization specifically exempting them from the effect of this Order.

2 - Any federal, state or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting resource in the performance of an official duty.

3 - Persons with a written Forest Service authorization specifically exempting them from the effect of this order.

This order took effect at 6 a.m. Thursday, July 15, and will remain in effect until 6 a.m. Aug. 31 or until rescinded, according to a news release.

Any violation of this prohibition is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or both.

WEATHER

Increasing chances of area thunderstorms and accompanying gusty outflow winds for the next several days. Possible flooding can accompany localized rain events during this period.

EVACUATIONS

All Tiger Fire evacuation status designations by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office have been rescinded.

FOREST RESTRICTIONS

Arizona’s publicly managed lands are in widely different levels of restrictions. Those planning to visit Arizona’s outdoors should consult appropriate land management agency websites immediately prior to planning a trip to determine current restrictions and emergency fire area closures. Visit https://wildlandfire.az.gov/fire-restrictions for current restrictions.

For information on the Prescott National Forest, check out the Prescott NF website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/prescott.

Information provided by Prescott National Forest.

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