Smoke over trees

Smoke rises over pine trees on the Coconino National Forest in this file photo. 

The Platypus and Rhino fires had increased activity Saturday, pushing the fire on the top of the Mogollon Rim below planned firelines in Secret Canyon. The fire is now established on top of the Rim on Dave Joy Point.

According to a press release from the Coconino National Forest, crews continued with burnout operations along road systems Saturday night to stay ahead of the approaching wildfires on the top of the Rim.

“We have been looking for opportunities where we can fight this fire safely and on our terms. It is finally moving out of the steep, rugged, unsafe terrain where we can actively engage through burnout operation,” said Incident Commander True Brown.

The effect of the increased fire activity and burnout operations has been increased smoke. Fire managers are expecting the burnout operations to continue through the week.

With the increased fire activity and fire-fighting traffic on narrow roads, the public is encouraged to avoid the area south of the junction of Forest Road 231 and 231A until fire conditions moderate.

The lightning-caused blazes were discovered July 28 and combined are approximately 3,300 acres.

The increased fire activity is producing heavy smoke, making it visible in Sedona, Parks/Bellemont, Munds Park and Flagstaff during the day. Smoke is expected to disperse to the north and northeast during the day and will settle into Sedona and the Verde Valley during the nighttime and early morning hours.

Individuals sensitive to smoke can learn how to protect their health by visiting the Coconino County Public Health Service District website at http://coconino.az.gov.

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