Fire expected to grow next few weeks
Cross Fire at 1,900 acres
WILLIAMS - The Cross Fire, which is located 18 miles south southeast of Williams on the Kaibab National Forest, continues to grow and meet natural resource managers' expectations of improving forest health and returning fire to a fire-dependent ecosystem. The fire, which was started by lightning June 30, is 1,900 acres and still growing. In fact, fire managers said the Cross Fire could continue moving across the landscape for several weeks to come, depending on weather conditions.
"We are trying to allow fire to play a more natural role in the forest, so its growth is largely dependent on natural conditions such as precipitation," said Dave Bales, incident commander of the Cross Fire and assistant fire management officer for the Williams and Tusayan districts. "If it rains, it could slow or even stop the Cross Fire's growth. But, if the fire receives either minimal or no precipitation, we will continue to manage its growth for some time to come."
Firefighters will continue to hold and monitor the fire within the boundaries established for it. Over the last several days, firefighters have worked hard to blackline fire perimeter roads in order to limit the fire's growth in specific directions.
"On a daily basis, we are looking at where the fire could move within the next several days and weeks and making plans to slow or stop fire progression where it is necessary," Bales said. "We are also analyzing the effects the fire is having as it moves through the forest in order to ensure it is still meeting the objectives we have outlined."
One major objective is to limit smoke impacts to communities as much as possible. According to Bales, decisions such as where and when to blackline and under what weather conditions can greatly influence the amount of smoke produced. On July 11 smoke production was moderate. The smoke largely dispersed in the late afternoon. However, some smoke did move north toward Sitgreaves Mountain. Because the drainages of Sycamore Canyon can filter smoke in many different directions and toward various communities, smoke could be noticeable anywhere from along Interstate 40 between Williams and Flagstaff to communities south of the fire such as Prescott and the Verde Valley.
Approximately 112 fire personnel are assigned to the Cross Fire. Resources include the Kaibab fuels crew, three Kaibab engines, a Kaibab dozer, the Kaibab helitack crew, four Coconino National Forest engines, the Flagstaff Hotshots, the Prescott Hotshots and the Saguaro Fire Use Module. There are no closures associated with the Cross Fire. However, visitors should use caution when traveling in the area and should watch for firefighting vehicles and personnel.
For additional information on the Cross Fire, please visit www.inciweb.org/incident/1717/.
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