Museum Wildfire Update: Flagstaff, Coconino County Fire Map, Arizona Blaze Engulfs 1,800 Acres, 12 Percent Contained

The Museum Fire around one mile north of the city of Flagstaff, Arizona, has burned 1,887 acres and is 12 percent contained, according to officials.

Around 600 personnel are involved in fighting the fire and a perimeter has been set up around it to protect Flagstaff proper. Firefighters have been working to reduce the size of the blaze—efforts that were assisted yesterday by the arrival of rain in the area.

"Firefighters made progress building fireline by hand and tying in with dozer lines on the south and west perimeters of the fire today," read a statement issued by the U.S Forest Service yesterday evening. "Crews are using direct tactics and looking for opportunities for strategic firing operations to accomplish containment goals."

"Air resources continued to apply retardant to cool existing hot spots," the statement read. "Cooler temperatures and moisture assisted with keeping fire behavior to a minimum during this operational period. Smoke will continue to be visible in the area due to smoldering timber within the fire perimeter."

Although the weather is set to be warmer and drier in the coming days, more thunderstorms are also expected, bringing more rain. While these storms can prove to be helpful in reducing the size of the blaze, they may also create problems, due to the fact that wind can help to spread the fire.

"We still have to be careful. With the rain we have, it didn't put the fire out. With the monsoons… we still have heat on the line and if we get those outflow winds, that will move that fire," Todd Abel, operations chief with the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority, told the Arizona Daily Sun.

Furthermore, the burn areas are susceptible to flash-flooding which could pose a risk to some neighborhoods, including Mount Elden, Lookout Estates, Paradise Road, Grandview Drive and Sunnyside, according to officials. Authorities have been making preparations for this eventuality.

Fortunately, no one has been injured and no structures have been burned as a result of the fire so far, The Arizona Republic reported.

Several neighborhoods were ordered to evacuate on Monday by the Coconino County Sheriff's Office but this notice was lifted on Wednesday afternoon for the Elden Lookout Road area, allowing some residents to return to their homes. However, this area remains on "pre-evacuation" notice in case conditions change.

Rob Beery, fire behavior analyst from the Southwest Area Incident Management Team, predicted on Tuesday that the blaze would not grow more than 200 additional acres given the expected weather conditions, the Daily Sun reported.

The fire started around midday on Sunday but the cause remains unknown, according to Coconino County officials. An investigation is underway.

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Stock photo: The Museum Fire near Flagstaff, Arizona, has engulfed an area of around 1,800 acres. iStock
Museum Wildfire Update: Flagstaff, Coconino County Fire Map, Arizona Blaze Engulfs 1,800 Acres, 12 Percent Contained | U.S.