Arizona News – The Coconino National Forest resumed command of the lightning-caused 10,279-acre Wilbur Fire Thursday morning (June 22), which originated 8.5 miles west of Clints Well on the Mogollon Rim Ranger District.
Objectives also include protecting critical infrastructure, watersheds, wildlife habitat and culturally sensitive areas from future catastrophic wildfires. Managing low-intensity wildfires such as this reduces the threat of catastrophic fire by reducing the accumulation of dead wood, pinecones, and pine needles, that would otherwise contribute to hotter and bigger fire behavior. This is part of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy recently announced by the Chief of the Forest Service.
All strategic firing operations have been successfully completed, and firefighters are utilizing previously improved holding features and roads to confine the wildfire to a predetermined area. Crews continue to patrol and monitor fire activity and work toward full containment, with current containment at 78 percent.
Suppression repair projects are underway, including mending fences and removing snags (dead standing trees) from high-use dispersed recreation areas and along roads. Smoke is visible at times as interior pockets of unburned forest fuels consume.
Night operations conclude Sunday night and early Monday morning with firefighters and the Arizona Department of Transportation remaining to monitor the fire perimeter and smoke conditions along highways and provide for public safety.
The Coconino National Forest has issued an area closure to protect public health and ensure firefighter safety. The full closure order and map are available online.
In the interest of public and firefighter safety, drivers are asked to travel with caution as fire crews will be entering and exiting roadways during operations.
As temperatures cool overnight smoke may linger in drainages and valleys until daytime winds surface.
Regular fire updates can be found on the Wilbur Fire Inciweb page until it is fully contained.