Two Wildfires Burning Near Flagstaff Mark Early Start To Fire Season

By Riis Valcho
Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 5:59pm
Updated: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 12:15pm
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Fires burning near Flagstaff have fire fighters on their toes earlier than usual. 

The Boulder Fire is a one acre blaze visible from downtown Flagstaff is burning in a rocky crevasse on Mount Elden. And, the Secret Fire is a six acre fire burning 20 miles southwest of Flagstaff.

Typically springtime in Northern Arizona should be a season of transition. Snowmelt giving way to sprouting spring grasses and colorful wildflowers. The ground should be damp, keeping fire danger at bay. Typically.  

Coconino National Forest spokesman Don Muise is worried about the lack of precipitation over this year’s winter season.

“So, were a little bit on the out side of our fire season. So, that is concerning, but I also have the hope that were going to get some surges of moisture that are very typical this time of year,” Muise said.  

Firefighters have dug lines to keep the Secret Fire from spreading and is 70 percent contained, as of Monday morning. Crews are keeping a close watch on the Boulder Fire, which is harder to reach due the steep terrain. Forest officials said they believe both fires appear to be human caused, but are still investigating.   

Muise said the Forest Service is ready for a busy fire season in Arizona.

“We feel like we’ve got adequate resources to hit, what we would call, an ‘average year.’ And, then, if our metrics start indicating that we additional resources , we’ll start order them up and bringing them in," Muise said. "The strength of our system is we have the ability to pull from other areas of the country, if we have those needs."               

Muise said a lack of snow and rain in the high country this winter is creating the dry conditions, but is hopeful a forecast storm moving in from California later this week will bring some much needed moisture to the region. 

Updated 3/31/2014 6:10 p.m.

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