FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Firefighters in northern Arizona were able to stop a forest fire along I-17 quickly on Friday as red flag warnings were in effect.
It’s unclear what sparked the fire along I-17, but fire officials say it was likely human-caused because of the location. The wildland firefighters were able to put out the flames quickly before the winds helped spread the fire.
The fire started near the Kelly Canyon Road exit near Munds Park, and was able to be put out while in a grass area along the frontage road.
A reminder that, Coconino National Forest and other national forests in mid to Northern Arizona are under fire restrictions, meaning campfires are not allowed.
According to the forest service that means:
Stage I Restrictions
What is Prohibited:
- No building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal or wood stove, except in designated developed recreation sites.
- No smoking except in an enclosed vehicle or building.
- No welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
- No fireworks, explosives or tracer rounds are permitted on national forest lands at any time.
Despite the fire restrictions, forest officials are still receiving calls from the public about illegal campfires, primarily on the weekends.
On Friday, the forest service’s top leader announced he will pause all prescribed burns on forest land.
In an online blog, Chief Randy Moore wrote, “I’m sure you all have seen the stories in the news about recent prescribed burn escapes. These, as well as isolated incidents on other national forests in recent years, have made it imperative that we pause to review our processes. That’s why I am temporarily halting all prescribed burns on National Forest System lands and creating a review team consisting of representatives from the wildland fire and research community.”
Moore referenced how there are 15 unconfined large wildfires across the nation, “Let me be clear. Prescribed fire is an important tool, and we conduct an average of 4,500 prescribed fire projects annually: 99.84% go according to plan. That equals slightly more than one escape per every 1,000 prescribed fires, or about six escapes per year. But we can always improve.”