Mangum Fire now over 70,000 acres

Smoke can be seen for miles as the "Mangum Fire" continues burning in Kaibab National Forest, reaching more than 500 acres, Coconino County, Ariz., June 9, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Based on an infrared flight Monday night, the Mangum fire has reached 71,043 acres with an estimated 33% containment.

A massive plume of smoke rising from Mangum Fire burning in Northern Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest, Coconino County, Arizona, June 13, 2020 | Photo courtesy of National Forest Service, St. George News

Firefighting crews were primarily focusing on the southern, western and eastern sides of the fire, and Mangum Fire Information Officer Gerry Perry said those perimeters are looking good right now.

Perry added that the northeastern part of the fire is most active right now.

“That’s where the focus of most of the effort is going on. Of course we’ve got firefighters working around the perimeter, but up in the northeast, they’re still trying to check that fire up and stop it in there. it’s coming off of the top of the plateau, and it’s moved down toward the House Rock Road. They’ve spent a considerable amount of effort putting in fire lines down there, and they’re intending to hold it from crossing that house Rock Road.”

In terms of the forecast going forward, the wind speed is still low in comparison to last week, but the fire remains in areas that are hard to navigate with higher temperatures and low humidity. These are conditions that firefighters have seen since late last week.

Smoke can be seen for miles as the “Mangum Fire” continues burning in Kaibab National Forest, Coconino County, Arizona, June 2020 | Photo courtesy of Paige Cox St. George News

In regard to the fire tankers flying in and out of the St. George airport, Perry said they have been critical to the efforts of containing the fire.

“Those firefighters on the ground use that retardant as a barrier, but the fire can still burn through those slowly. They can’t just paint a section of ground with retardant and expect not to have to reinforce it with people on the ground. It does stop the fire’s movement for a short period of time, and it gives firefighters the opportunity to get in there and do some other work to erect a barrier.”

There are also helicopters flying out of the Kanab airport that are dropping water on the fire to help from the air. Perry added that as fire season moves north and monsoon season arrives, the planes will move north.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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