Update (7:31 p.m): Next community meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Doney Park at Cromer Elementary School.
Update (7:30 p.m): Pre-filled sandbags can be picked up from the south parking lot of Coconino High School. There are self filling stations at Joel Montalvo Little League Fields and Aztec Street near Francis Short Pond.
"We've had over one hundred thousand (sandbags) go out today," said Scott Overton, City of Flagstaff Streets Section Director.
Update (7:05 p.m): Coconino County assures community they are prepared for flooding. Deputy Manager Lucinda Andreani says they are "light years" ahead of where they were following the Schultz Fire.
Update (6:35 p.m.): Mayor Coral Evans said post-fire flooding is the city's "number one priority." Museum Fire is now 12% contained and has burned 1,887 acres.
Updated infared mapping of the Museum Fire is available as of last nightconfirming earlier reports that the fire is 1,800 acres and ten percent contained. Heavy rainfall and humidity assisted firefighters in yesterday’s efforts to contain the wildfire, however, the monsoons forecasted to arrive today and later this week pose their own set of risks to community members and ground crews.
A Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) has assumed command of the Museum Fire as of 6 p.m., July 22. Yesterday IMT was able to successfully complete a fireline perimeter that will ensure the surrounding areas are protected. According Operations Chief Todd Abel, the fireline has changed the strategy IMT will utilize fighting the fire today.
“Today we will try and move in a little tighter to keep the footprint as small as possible and protect valuables,” said Able.
According to Able, today firefighters will attack the fire almost exclusively from the ground, but an aerial team is still ready if the opportunity presents itself. Able also attributes rainfall and humidity to the shift in strategy.
The increased rainfall over the next few days could pose flooding risks to both firefighters and residents. According to Incident Commander, Rich Nieto, ground crews have already faced issues from flooding while battling the blaze. IMT will be working closely with the city to mitigate flooding concerns as the monsoons roll in and the fire continues to burn.
“We have looked at flooding concerns since day one,” said Nieto. “We are very proactive regarding that…but our number one issue remains the fire itself.”
Nieto also addressed the cause of the fire which he says is still unknown. A separate team is scheduled to begin investigating the cause over the next few days.
There are currently no injuries or lost structures as a result of the wildfire. Ten evacuees remain sheltered at Sinagua Middle school and many more are temporarily staying elsewhere after mandatory evacuations were issued July 22. Re-population of evacuated areas could begin as early as today according to Nieto.
For those who would like to stay up to date with the Museum Fire, IMT strongly encourages the use of InciWeb. This is where all real-time updates can be found as they become available.