Arizona News – Crews are continuing west of the Clints om the Wilbur fire; a lightning-caused wildfire located on the Mogollon Rim Ranger District (MRRD) of the Coconino National Forest.
- Acreage: 1,581
- Containment: 0 percent
- Start date: May 21, 2023
- Total personnel: 150
- Location: 8.5 miles west of Clints Well (Mogollon Rim Ranger District, Coconino National Forest)
- Fuels: Ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper
Highlights: Firefighters remained overnight on the Wilbur Fire to secure and monitor the fire perimeter after successful tactical firing operations were conducted along Forest Road (FR) 142. Smoke impacts have been light along both State Route (SR) 87 and SR 260 due in part to excellent ventilation conditions that have aided with smoke dispersal throughout the day.
Operations: On Monday firefighters began to backfire along the northeast perimeter on FR 142 and progressed west toward State Route (SR) 260. One Type 3 helicopter and one Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) conducted aerial ignitions to fill in the unburned areas in-between ground firing operations and the main fire. Fire managers plan to continue taking advantage of favorable conditions and the opportunity that the Wilbur Fire provides. The Wilbur Fire is being managed under a full suppression strategy to meet multiple resource objectives. Those objectives include the release of nutrients back into soil and the reduction of hazardous fuel accumulations. Objectives also include protecting critical infrastructure, watersheds, wildlife habitat and culturally sensitive areas from future catastrophic wildfire.
Weather: Temperatures are forecasted to be 73-78 degrees. Winds are expected out of the southeast at 5 mph becoming southwest around 10 mph in the afternoon. Excellent ventilation conditions are forecasted where smoke can disperse out of the surrounding area throughout the day.
Closures: The Coconino National Forest has issued area closure to protect public health and ensure firefighter safety. The full closure order and map are available at fs.usda.gov/alerts/coconino/
Safety: The Wilbur Fire is burning in an area with an extensive road system that firefighters are using for travel and as holding features — including State Route (SR) 87 and SR 260.
In the interest of public and firefighter safety, forest visitors are asked to travel with caution as fire crews will be entering and exiting roadways during operations.
Traffic delays can be expected through Friday, June 16 along SR 87 and SR 260, where escort by pilot car will be provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the area, which includes unmanned aircraft and drones. More information on the dangers drones pose to wildland firefighting aircraft and personnel on the ground can be found online at nifc.gov/drones.
Smoke: Impacts from smoke are expected to be light through the remainder of the week and visible from multiple locations including the Verde Valley and along Lake Mary Road (FH3), SR 260 and SR 87. Smoke will remain visible as operations continue through the weekend. As temperatures cool overnight smoke may linger in drainages and valleys until daytime winds surface.