Arizona News – Crews are continuing work on the Wilbur fire; a lightning-caused wildfire located on the Mogollon Rim Ranger District (MRRD) of the Coconino National Forest.
- Acreage: 7,938
- Containment: 41 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: Over the weekend fire crews patrolled and secured the fire’s edge along Forest Road (FR) 142 and Highway 260 near FR 144. Crews conducted tactical firing operations along FR 616 to FR 149 utilizing interior forest roads and continuing west to the 2016 Corduroy fire scar. Firefighters and the Arizona Department of Transportation road crews will continue to remain on scene overnight to monitor the fire perimeter and smoke conditions along highways and provide for public safety.
Operations: Due to Monday’s wind advisory with gusts potentially reaching 40 miles per hour (mph) tactical firing operations and air operations will not take place during the day. When conditions are appropriate ignitions may be initiated early Monday evening. Tuesday’s plan calls for a continuation of firing operations along interior forest roads between FR 149 and State Route (SR) 260 if conditions allow. Drivers in the area may encounter smoke and diminished visibility along SR 87 and SR 260.
The Wilbur Fire is being managed with multiple strategies to meet suppression and resource objectives. Those objectives include the release of nutrients back into the soil and the reduction of hazardous fuel accumulations. Objectives also include protecting critical infrastructure, watersheds, wildlife habitat, and culturally sensitive areas from future catastrophic wildfires.
Weather: Temperatures on Monday will reach highs of 73 degrees. A wind advisory is in effect with gusts potentially reaching 40 mph. Winds will be out of the southwest at 15 to 20 mph in the morning, with gusts reaching 35-40 mph between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. Excellent ventilation is forecasted allowing smoke to disperse out of the surrounding area throughout the day.
Closures: 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 at fs.usda.gov/alerts/coconino/
Safety: Road delays of 15 minutes will be in effect at the junction of and along SR 87 and SR 260 on Tuesday and Wednesday. For further information, please visit https://az511.gov
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.
The Wilbur Fire is burning in an area with an extensive road system that firefighters are using for travel and as holding features — including SR 87 and SR 260.
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 may be 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 into the week. As temperatures cool overnight smoke may linger in drainages and valleys until daytime winds surface.