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Wed, Aug. 04

Rafael Fire contained at 91 percent, mop up efforts now underway
Blaze burns 78,065 acres in Sycamore Canyon area; all effected communities return to READY evacuation status

The Rafael Fire in Sycamore Canyon on June 22. The Rafael Fire burned 78,065 acres. (Photo/Nick Desoto, Inciweb)

The Rafael Fire in Sycamore Canyon on June 22. The Rafael Fire burned 78,065 acres. (Photo/Nick Desoto, Inciweb)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — A Type 3 Incident Command Team led by Incident Commander Troy Mueller, assumed management of the Rafael Fire July 2 as crews continue with mop up, patrol and suppression efforts.

The Rafael Fire is 91 percent contained after burning 78,065 acres in the Sycamore Canyon area south east of Williams. There are currently 281 fire personnel assigned to the fire.

The Rafael Fire was discovered June 18 on the Prescott National Forest, the result of passing predominantly dry thunderstorms and lightning.

The fire was located in a remote area approximately four miles north of Perkinsville. It had grown to 1,000 acres by the morning of June 20. At that time, the Arizona Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team assumed management of the Rafael Fire. Strong winds on June 20, combined with dry fuels and favorable uphill topography in front of the fire, added nearly 18,000 acres for a total of 18,671 acres.

The fire moved nine and a half miles on June 20 from the origin to above the

Sycamore Canyon Rim onto the Kaibab National Forest and into the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area.

On June 21, the fire added another 5,500 acres to 24,191 acres, and burned actively in Tule Canyon within the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness.

The fire continued to grow in Sycamore Canyon and on June 22 the fire continued to move east and crossed into the Coconino National Forest.

Again, topography and dry fuels drove the fire approximately seven and a half miles on June 22 and by the morning of June 23, the fire had grown to 34, 949 acres.

On the morning of June 24, the Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team 2 led by Incident Commander Dave Bales assumed management of the fire.

As of July 2, crews continued to patrol and mop up around the fire to secure the perimeter. Interior areas of the fire are expected to continue to burn and there may be smoke visible in these areas. The Burned Area Emergency Response team is in place and is continuing assessing burn severity over the entire fire.

All communities affected by the fire were downgraded to “READY evacuation status. However, all areas within the Coconino, Kaibab, and Prescott National Forests remain closed to entry, regardless of evacuation status.

More information about forest closures should be directed to each respective forests.

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