Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Aug. 05

Rafael Fire grows to 24,064 acres, communities remain on SET status

The Rafael Fire as seen from Highway 89 near Drake Cement June 21. The fire was discovered on June 18 and is located in the Sycamore Canyon area. (Photo/Chris Acosta)

The Rafael Fire as seen from Highway 89 near Drake Cement June 21. The fire was discovered on June 18 and is located in the Sycamore Canyon area. (Photo/Chris Acosta)

WILLLIAMS, Ariz. – Residents in several northern Arizona communities remain in SET status as firefighters continue containment efforts on the Rafael Fire in Sycamore Canyon.

The Rafael Fire, located southeast of Williams grew to 24,064 acres as of June 22.

According to fire officials, fire growth was not as significant as what was seen on Sunday.

On June 20, Coconino County issued an emergency evacuation order at 8:30 p.m. for areas of Sycamore Canyon south of Forest Service Road 535 off FS231 because of the threat of a wildfire. Dispersed campers in the area were evacuated by Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

On June 21, Coconino County Emergency Services alerted residents in South Garland Prairie and Pine Aire subdivisions that they were in SET status. Shortly thereafter, all areas south of 1-40, west of I-17, including University Heights, Kachina Village, Forest Highlands, Pine Dell and Woody Mountain Road were also alerted to SET status.

Residents in these areas were advised they should begin preparing for possible GO orders to evacuate.

The Rafael Fire was discovered June 18. According to the Forest Service, it is the result of passing predominantly dry thunderstorms and was located approximately four miles north of Perkinsville, Arizona. Strong winds from the west in combination with terrain, and low humidity caused increased fire behavior, increasing the side of the fire significantly.

On June 20, the fire grew from 6,000 acres to 10,000 acres and could be seen from areas south of Garland Prairie and the Pine-Aire neighborhoods.

The fire is currently burning in the Sycamore Canyon area south of I-40 and east of Williams.

Coconino County Emergency Management (CCEM) has activated an Emergency Operations Center in response to the Rafael Fire. A call center has also been set up to answer questions. Residents may call (928) 679.8647 or email rafaelfire@coconino.az.gov

The Arizona Emergency Information Network outlines the three steps for evacuations as follows:

READY – Prepare Now

Be aware of the hazards that can threaten your community.

Take steps now to prepare for seasonal threats.

Register with your county/tribal emergency notification system.

Connect with your local emergency management office, sheriff's office and public health department on social media.

Make a family evacuation and communication plan that includes family phone numbers, out-of-town contacts and family meeting locations. Keep in mind physical distancing recommendations, wearing face coverings or other public health recommendations.

Build an emergency go kit with enough food, water and necessary supplies for at least 72 hours. Include supplies to help keep you and your family healthy, such as face coverings, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Start with the five P’s; people and pet supplies, prescriptions, papers, personal needs and priceless items.

Check with your neighbors, family, friends and elders through video chats or phone calls to ensure they are READY.

Keep up to date on local news, weather watches, weather warnings and public health recommendations

SET – Be Alert

Know there is significant danger in your area.

Residents should consider voluntarily relocating to a shelter or with family/friends outside the affected area. Residents should avoid close contact with those who are sick and should practice public health recommendations when relocating.

Grab your emergency go kit.

Keep in mind unique needs for your family or special equipment for pets and livestock.

Stay aware of the latest news and information from public safety and public health officials.

This might be the only notice you receive. Emergency services cannot guarantee they will be able to notify everyone if conditions rapidly deteriorate. Be SET to GO.

GO! – Evacuate

Danger in your area is imminent and life threatening.

Residents should evacuate immediately to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area. Residents should avoid close contact with those who are sick and should practice public health recommendations when relocating.

If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand emergency services may not be able to assist you further.

Follow instructions from emergency personnel, stay on designated evacuation routes and avoid closed areas.

The AEIN recommends focusing on the 5 P’s of Evacuation:

People and Pets and other animals/livestock and supplies.

Prescriptions with dosages, medicines, medical equipment, vision and hearing aids, batteries and power cords, face coverings, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.

Papers including important documents (hard copies and/or electronic copies saved on external hard drives or thumb drives), insurance papers, contacts.

Personal Needs including clothing, water, baby supplies, food, cash, credit cards, first aid kits, phones, and chargers. Items for people with access and/or functional needs, such as older adults and children.

Priceless items including photos, irreplaceable mementos and other valuables.

More information is available at Inciweb.

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