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Friday, August 5, 2011


U.S. Forest Service
Coconino National Forest                                                              

Scout Fire as seen from Blue Ridge 8-6-11
August 5, 2011

Coconino NF Wildfire Activity Update

Flagstaff, AZ Several low-intensity, lightning-caused wildfires on the Coconino National Forest are being managed for natural resource objectives. These objectives allow fire to play its natural role as custodian of the forest, reducing accumulated fuel and recycling nutrients. With warmer and drier weather forecast through this weekend, fire activity and smoke will increase. Although there are no formal closures, forest visitors will see signs for fire activity in the immediate area of these fires.

Rocky Fire
Crews are creating control lines around the Rocky Fire, in preparation of ignition this weekend to “box-in” the fire. The fire size could increase by several hundred acres. Ignition will occur early in the morning to maximize smoke dispersal, and smoke will be visible from I-17, Forest Highway 3, and the Verde Valley. This fire is being managed by the Red Rock Ranger District.
Rocky Fire Facts
Behavior: Low to moderate smoldering and creeping. The fire is staying in the ponderosa pine understory.
Start Date: July 18, 2011
Location: 2 miles south of Stoneman Lake, near Rocky Gulch.
Size: 140 acres. Anticipate growth to several thousand acres.

Sandrock and Zeus Fires
These two wildfires are within the same area and are being managed together on the Mogollon Rim Ranger District. Fire crews are planning ignitions with drip torches along the control lines to “box in” the fire boundaries. Smoke may increase along the highways and drain into Calf Pen Canyon and Fossil Creek overnight. Drivers on Highways 87 and 260 will see electronic signs alerting them for smoke.
Sandrock and Zeus Fire Facts
Behavior: Light. The fire is staying in the ponderosa pine understory.  
Start Date: July 21 and 28, 2011
Location: off Highway 260, near Twenty-Nine Mile Lake
Size: Sandrock 300 acres, Zeus 9 acres. Anticipate growth to several thousand acres.

Scout Fire
Fire crews are preparing for additional ignitions along control lines, similar to strategy on Sandrock and Rocky Fires. Planned ignitions will produce smoke which will be visible from Payson and Blue Ridge area community. Managed by Mogollon Rim Ranger District.
Scout Fire Facts
Behavior: Low to moderate, burning in the ponderosa pine understory.  
Start Date: July 21, 2011
Location: 6 miles south of Clints Well, near Forest Road 141H and Forest Road 320
Size: 175 acres; could grow to 2000 acres.

Bolt Fire
The Bolt Fire received significant precipitation and is inactive. Crews continue to monitor.
Bolt Fire Facts
Behavior: Little activity.
Start Date: July 11, 2011
Location: Approximately 6 miles northeast of Munds Park, off Forest Road 132A
Size: 1,780 acres; no further growth anticipated.

Fire managers recognize the need to minimize smoke impacts to the communities as much as possible and use several tactics to do so while managing these wildfires including slowing fire growth and intensity when ventilation conditions aren’t as favorable, and conducting firing operations earlier in the day to allow the majority of smoke to disperse before nightfall.

To learn more about fire and smoke activity on the Coconino National Forest, visit, follow our tweets at!/CoconinoNF
or contact your local ranger station:
Mogollon Rim Ranger Station (Blue Ridge): 928-477-2255  
Red Rock Ranger Station (Sedona): 928-203-7500 (open on weekends.)
Flagstaff Ranger Station: 928-526-0866.


Karen Malis-Clark
Public Affairs, Conservation Education
Coconino National Forest
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001-2529
Phone  928-527-3492  Fax 928-527-3620

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Rocky Mountain Bee Plants Surround SP Crater
North of Flagstaff

Roughly 71,000 years ago, the death throes of SP Crater volcano rocked the flatlands north of Flagstaff. During SP’s final moments, molten lava oozed from its base onto the surrounding high-desert plains, essentially bleeding the mountain to death. Over the course of its active phase, SP shuttered and quaked, splattering taffy-like ribbons of liquid basalt for miles across the landscape before sputtering out. Today, this extinct cinder cone volcano cuts a jaw-dropping silhouette on the skyline, attracting hikers in search of a challenge.
Not for the faint of heart, this “hike” involves a 600-foot, 32-degree climb on loose cinders – tantamount to clambering up a ramp of marbles. Once on top of the crusty rim, a 400-foot-deep internal vent gapes below. Quicksand-like substrate and an extreme slope make venturing into the vent dangerous, so it’s smart to stay on the rim. The 0.75-mile circumference hike around the vent features far-reaching views of the Vermilion Cliffs and Navajo Mountain in Utah. To the north, the 5-mile river of lava that signaled the end of this hill’s active phase flows out in a silent, lithic swan song.
LENGTH: 1.5 miles roundtrip
ELEVATION: 6,400-7,021 feet
RATING: moderate
DOGS: not recommended for dogs

DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 185 miles one way (3 hours)
GETTING THERE: From Flagstaff, go 32 miles north on US 89 to just before milepost 446. Turn left (west) onto an unmarked dirt road south of Hank’s Trading Post; you’ll see the flattop cone of SP Crater looming on the horizon. Set your odometer and go 0.5 miles, veering left at the fork. At the 4.8-mile point, go right at the second fork. At the 6-mile point, go right again, continue 0.5 miles, and park at the base of the mountain.
Note: The roads are very rough with deep ruts. A high-clearance vehicle is required. Drive slowly and beware of roaming cattle.

INFO: Arizona State Land Department, 602-542-4631 (general info); 928-774-1425 (Flagstaff office)