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Winds push Crooks Fire farther southwest, reducing containment 16 percent

Firefighters dig a line on the Crooks Fire south of Prescott, Arizona April 24. (Photo/Inciweb)

Firefighters dig a line on the Crooks Fire south of Prescott, Arizona April 24. (Photo/Inciweb)

PRESCOTT, Ariz. - As the Crooks Fire entered its eighth day April 26, flames had spread to about 6,454 acres, driven by terrain-driven winds that pushed the blaze farther south and west, a Prescott National Forest news release reported.

The fire, located 11 miles south of Prescott on the Bradshaw Ranger District near Mt. Union, is now at 16 percent containment, down from 22 percent April 25, because of those winds.

However, the fire, which is currently burning “litter and understory timber” as well as “grass-shrubs,” now has 746 personnel battling it. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

The afternoon of April 25, high winds increased the fire’s growth and acreage, and upper-level winds pushed the fire’s smoke into the Prescott area, the release stated.

“Crews continued direct [fire] line construction south of Lookout Mountain towards Ash Creek and from Moscow Peak west to Senator Highway,” the release added. “Firefighters strengthened and improved the northern and eastern flanks of the fire.”

On April 26, crews attempted to build direct and indirect fire-control lines to protect structures on Lookout Mountain.

“Multiple aircraft will be overhead assisting ground crews aggressively attacking any fires encroaching the [Forest Service Road] FSR 81,” the release stated. “Additionally, crews are building contingency lines to the west of the fire in case conditions cause a change in direction.”

Operational objectives, per the release, include:

• Keeping the fire south of Prescott Basin.

• Holding the fire west of Big Bug Mesa Road and FSR 83.

• Keeping the fire north of FSR 82.

• Containing the fire east of FSR 97B.

Resources assigned to fight the Crooks Fire include six Type 1 Hotshot crews, five Type 2 Hand crews, 40 engines, eight helicopters, miscellaneous equipment and overhead, the release stated.

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