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Forest Fire Season is Upon Us

Forest Fire Season is Upon Us
June 16
14:20 2016

Technically, the calendar says it’s still spring, but the truth is the season has changed from that of April showers and May flowers to on forest fires.

Cedar Creek Fire

Cedar Creek Fire

Smoke rolled through town like fog yesterday and the question on everyone’s mind was, “Where did it come from?” The likely culprit is a wildfire within the North Kaibab Ranger District that started on Monday, June 13th.

Known as the Wildcat Fire, the lightning caused blaze rapidly grew to 2,000 acres in size yesterday afternoon. The epicenter for the fire is south of Highway 89A and southwest of the Forest Road 8910 and 211 junction, near the South Canyon trailhead in Saddle Mountain Wilderness.

Currently, the fire is burning in a northeast direction and it would not be surprise if the Page area continues to see smoke as fire crew’s work to suppress the fire.

Meanwhile a bit further south, a fire burning 10 miles south of Show Low has prompted evacuations across Navajo County.

Just like residents of Yarnell a week ago, the communities of Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, McNary, and other surrounding areas are preparing to evacuate to get away from the blaze.

The Cedar Creek fire is currently burning out of control, sending smoke billowing through the White Mountains. Some residents may be having flashbacks of the infamous Rodeo-Chedeski fire, which was one of the largest fires in recorded state history and ravaged the area 14 years ago.

However, the Cedar Creek Fire is small by historic standards, growing to 3,000 acres yesterday. But the fire still prompted Navajo County to issue pre-evacuation orders.

A shelter for evacuees was set up initially at the junior high school in Snowflake but moved to the high school.

In an effort to spark prevention awareness, counties around the state have enacted fire restrictions.

Coconino County is one of six counties in Arizona under strict new “fire restrictions”.

The new rules, announced by the State Forester, Jeffrey Whitney, mean that campfires and the use of coal, charcoal or wood stoves, are now restricted ONLY to developed campgrounds or picnic areas.

In addition, smoking is now only allowed inside vehicles or buildings. Aside from Coconino, the other counties that fall under the new regulations are Gila, Maricopa, Navajo, Yavapai and Apache Counties.

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