The Museum wildfire, which began July 21st, is currently still burning in the Dry Lake Hills area north of town. It is a difficult, challenging, and extremely unfortunate event. While the cause remains undetermined at this point, rest assured that all leads are being followed as the investigation continues.
City and Coconino National Forest personnel have been working diligently over the past few years to implement planned forest treatments. As of last week, we were just shy of 50% completed within the Dry Lake Hills area (approximately 65% completed project-wide).
The fire will continue for another week or more before full-containment. Some initial reports are that some of this completed work had some positive effects on fire spread and intensity, but
- We do know that some areas burned very hot/severe and that some treatment sites – completed our underway – were within those areas;
- Two of the seven log decks were burned (NOTE: due to wood size, type, and condition, all log decks are of minimal timber value);
- Some trails have been damaged, wildlife habitat lost, and the Mt Elden Road will be impacted for some time;
- Post fire flooding is a very real threat and the City and County are working tirelessly to mitigate the impacts;
- No structures have been damaged or lost as a result of the fire;, and
- There has been only two relatively minor injuries to-date.
In the coming weeks, we will work to assess the impacts of the fire on the Watershed Project, and we’ll share those results once known. What we can say right now, however, is that it could have been far worse. We are very grateful to the Southwest Incident Management Team #2 for their professionalism, effectiveness, and sensitivity to our community and the Project.
Following that assessment, we’ll re-engage and carry-on. We have on-going work that still needs to be completed, and areas where planned work remains to be done. Our objectives and commitment remain unchanged.