July 23 at 6 p.m., Flagstaff High School hosted a community meeting regarding the Museum Fire. Featured on the panel were representatives from the city, county, state and federal government.
Supervisor of Coconino County National Forest Laura Jo West began the meeting with an empathetic approach, sharing condolences and thanks with the Flagstaff community.
“Mount Elden and the San Francisco Peaks are sacred places. It’s our backyard, part of our community. We are doing everything we can to limit flooding. It’s not an easy task, we’ll give it our best shot, but we are bringing in a team to ensure we are doing all we can. You have my word on that,” West said.
When the fire was discovered, all teams immediately took action, expending as many resources as possible to suppress the fire. District Manager of the Department of Forestry and Fire Management Aaron Green said his team is closely collaborating with the Type I Incident Management Team and the governor to guarantee that this is a priority.
As of this morning, Flagstaff has been successful in gaining additional federal funding and resources per Governor Doug Ducey. The goal is to mitigate future risk as well as fully extinguish the fire.
Flagstaff Fire Department and the Incident Management Team are paying close attention to the community beyond the fire. The resources placed in the community can strengthen morale and protect the community in the event that the fire spreads.
“It’s very clear firefighting and public safety is our main concern here. We have zero structures lost and the biggest one is no injuries,” said one member of the Incident Management Team.
The Museum Fire currently burns approximately 1,400 acres and has reached 10% containment with 500 personnel on the ground.
A meteorologist present said, “We are in the thick of monsoon season. Today, we had about an inch to an inch and a half of rain. The good news doesn’t end there — there are high chances of rain almost every day this week.”
Although the weather forecast is hopeful and conducive to fire extinguishing, there are worries of lighting and flooding. Despite these possibilities, the weather is assisting in putting out this fire.
At the most, the fire is projected to spread no more than 200 acres before it is fully contained. Debris from forest thinning remains burning on the ground, posing a threat. Multiple days of rain will be vital to keeping the fire out.
In regards to smoke, Air Resource Advisor Carolyn Kelly said, “Smoke has mostly been staying aloft, settling in lowlands near the fire.”
The Flagstaff winds have created somewhat erratic conditions, varying in intensity and speed, but has died down on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s success in quelling the fire has brought some ease to the community. While the Museum Fire continues to burn, it is has been minimized in the northern and eastern-most areas. With the rain and resources, firefighters and response teams are putting the Museum Fire to bed.