Smoke crept over the Flagstaff area early Wednesday afternoon, descending from the nearby Whiskey Fire.
According to Tuesdays United States Department of Agriculture news release, firefighters planned to begin burnout operations Wednesday to limit the Whiskey Fire to a specific containment area. Additionally, smoke impacts are predicted to increase through Thursday.
The Whiskey Fire, which is located about 15 miles southwest of Flagstaff, was caused by a lightning strike. According to the news release, the fire was discovered Sept. 2 and is being used to deplete forest debris and lessen the likelihood of future wildfires.
"[The Whiskey Fire] reduces the risk of a more severe high-intensity wildfire in the future," the news release stated. "The Ponderosa pine forest thrives on low- to moderate-severity fire."
The smoke from the Whiskey Fire and subsequent burnout operations is likely to reach large portions of northern Arizona. According to the news release, the smoke is expected to continue over the next few days.
"Smoke may affect areas including Flagstaff, Munds Park, Mountainaire, Kachina, Forest Highlands, Doney Park, Mormon Lake Village, Highway 89A Corridor, Sedona, Village of Oak Creek and portions of Interstate 40," the news release stated.
Firefighters are planning to diminish or desist burnout operations by the weekend. This objective is anticipated to reduce smoke impacts in the region.
The Whiskey Fire has also rendered numerous road closures. The news release stated that Forest Road 231, which is near Sedona, will be closed at the intersection of Forest Road 536 to the intersection of Forest Road 231A. The closure started Wednesday morning and is expected to last two to three days.
For more information regarding fire activity, please visit the Whiskey Fire InciWeb site.