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Update: Rafael Fire increases to 36,143 acres; still 0% contained
Containment increases for Rock Butte fires

This map from the Prescott National Forest shows the footprint of the Rafael Fire, as of June 24, 2021. (Courtesy)

This map from the Prescott National Forest shows the footprint of the Rafael Fire, as of June 24, 2021. (Courtesy)

The Rafael Fire, located four miles north of Perkinsville, has increased in size to 36,143 acres, according to the Thursday evening update from Prescott National Forest officials.

As of late Thursday night, the fire was zero-percent contained. It started Friday, June 18, and has damaged or destroyed no structures, said Debbie Maneely of the Prescott National Forest.

The lightning-caused fire has 311 personnel working it, she added.

FIRE MOVEMENT

The Rafael Fire has advanced into Sycamore Canyon and moved on top to the Mogollon Rim, on both the Kaibab National Forest on Sycamore Point and Coconino National Forest near Casner Mountain.

On the Prescott National Forest, the southwest corner of the fire has not advanced west or south for the past two days, Maneely said.

Wednesday, to the north on the Kaibab and Coconino National forests, fire crews identified road systems to utilize as fire line to stop the spread north and westward toward identified values at risk.

On the southeast portion of the fire in Sycamore Canyon and the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, crews are identifying fire line locations for direct and indirect suppression actions.

Personnel from the incoming Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team 2 shadowed members of the Arizona Central West Zone Type 3 Team to transfer information and gain situational awareness of the Rafael Fire on Wednesday.

Type 1 Team 2 assumed management of the fire at 6 a.m. Thursday, June 24.

The fire was expected to move north in Sycamore Canyon near Dorsey Spring and east into Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area, where vegetation and topography are in alignment, according to a news release.

Firefighters on the north end of the fire will continue with suppression efforts and prepare for future firing operations using road systems and natural features and will utilize aircraft to support these actions. In the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area, fire crews will continue to scout for future suppression lines.

EVACUATIONS

Evacuation status as of 6 a.m. June 24:

“GO” — in Coconino County, areas around Sycamore Canyon and south of Forest Service Road 535 off FS 231. In Yavapai County, some rural ranches in the area of North FSR 525 and Bill Grey Road, West of Sedona.

“SET” — in Coconino County, all areas south of Interstate 40, west of I-17, to include University Heights, Kachina Village, Forest Highlands, Pine Dell, and Woody Mountain Road, Camp Navajo, South Garland Prairie, Pine Aire Estates and residents in between. In Yavapai County, Grey Mountain and Bear Mountain areas.

“READY” — none at this time. Notifications can change rapidly. Residents in areas affected by the fire should remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate. Evacuation notifications are issued when danger is imminent and life threatening.

Information about evacuation status can be found on the Coconino County Emergency Management’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/coconinoEM/ and at the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/YavapaiCountySheriff/. Maps of evacuation status in Coconino County can be found at: Coconino County Situational Awareness Viewer (arcgis.com).

The Coconino National Forest has initiated a forest closure for the entire forest, effective 8 a.m. on June 23. Coconino National Forest — Alerts & Notices (usda.gov).

The Kaibab National Forest has initiated a forest closure for the entire forest, effective 8 a.m. June 23. Kaibab National Forest — Alerts & Notices (usda.gov). The Prescott National Forest will initiate a full forest closure effective Friday, June 25, at 8 a.m. The forest will remain in Stage 2 Fire Restrictions until then, Prescott National Forest — Alerts & Notices (usda.gov). Reminder, all state land is under Stage 2 restrictions effective 8 a.m. on June 11.

ROCK BUTTE FIRE UPDATE

As of June 24, the five fires being managed by the Arizona Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management team are the following from north to south — all acreages are approximate and current as of June 23 at 8 p.m.:

• Red Hat Fire — 49 acres, 100% containment

• Limestone Fire — 33 acres, 100% containment

• Spring Fire — 567 acres, 75% containment

• Rock Butte Fire — 127 acres, 56% containment

• Silent Fire — 27 acre, 100% containment

Location: North of Paulden and west of Highway 89

RESOURCES: 110 Personnel

• 5 Engines

• 2 Crews

• 1 Dozer

• 2 Water tenders

Fire Information phone number ONLY for Rock Butte Fires: 928-925-1111.

WEATHER CHANGES BRING GOOD NEWS

The moisture and higher relative humidity subdued fire behavior on all five fires. Crews were able to get 100% containment on the Red Hat and Limestone fires, and 42% containment on the Spring Fire. Crews will continue to patrol and monitor both the Silent and Rock Butte fires. Interior fuels on the Spring Fire continue to burn and smoke may be visible.

Wednesday’s storms brought some much-needed relief for crews on the Rock Butte fires. With considerable rain and lightning on the fire area, crews were brought off the line for their safety. This gave them a chance to regroup physically and mentally. This reprieve gave the crews the opportunity to recharge their stamina for both this assignment as well as the next assignment.

Evacuation status

Evacuation status as of 6 a.m. June 25 (Notifications are in place until status is rescinded or changed by each respective County Sheriff’s Office):

“GO” in Coconino County, areas around Sycamore Canyon and South of Forest Service Road 535 off FS 231 (Sycamore Canyon) and Garland Prairie South. In Yavapai County, some rural ranches in the area of North FSR 525 and Bill Grey Road, West of Sedona (Loy Ranch). A shelter for evacuees is set up at Sinagua Middle School at 3950 E. Butler in Flagstaff.

“SET” – in Coconino County, areas around Camp Navajo, Garland Prairie North, Pine Aire Estates and residents in between. In Yavapai County, Bill Grey Road (Grey Ranch), FS Road 525 (Windmill Ranch), and FS Road 152C and Bear Mountain Road (Bear Mountain).

“READY” -– in Coconino County, all areas south of I-40, west of I-17 including the following neighborhoods:

Westwood Estates, Flagstaff Ranch (including W.L. Gore), Pine Del, Forest Highlands, Kachina Village, University Heights, Mountain del, and Equestrian Estates and in Yavapai County, the areas north of AZ-89A in West Sedona have been placed on “Ready” status.

Notifications can change rapidly. Residents in areas affected by the fire should remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate. Evacuation notifications are issued when danger is imminent and life threatening.

Information provided by the Prescott National Forest.

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