Mangum Fire has burned 71,450 acres; highways expected to reopen Sunday morning

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 — As of Saturday, the Mangum Fire in Northern Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest has burned 71,450 acres with containment at 51%. As a result of the fire’s movement and the work done on it, the Forest Service will be opening roads and areas of the north Kaibab ranger district according to Mangum Fire Information Officer Gerry Perry.

The Mangum Fire burns in Northern Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest, Coconino County, Ariz., June 25, 2020 | Photo courtesy of National Forest Service, St. George News

Highways 89A and 67 will be reopening on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. with work being done to remove hazardous trees and ensure safe travel through those areas.

Perry also mentioned that the Mangum Fire’s perimeter was much less active on Friday with smaller amounts of smoke coming off of it.

“The crews here are improving fire lines and conducting suppression repair where needed,” Perry said. “The Jacob Lake community and the entire White Sage community on the west side of the fire anticipated to have their evacuation threat rescinded entirely by Sunday morning.”

Fire crews are currently focusing on suppression, repair and improving the existing fire lines. The weather for Sunday and Monday is expected to be a red flag situation, which will provide optimal conditions for fire growth with the possibility of spot fires. This includes high winds, high temperatures and low humidity which could potentially allow sparks and ashes to exit the existing and developing containment lines.

“It’s still a concern,” Perry said of the weather conditions. “We’d like to have this fire a little further along before you have a red flag warning but unfortunately mother nature doesn’t ask us for our opinions.”

The fire crews have known about the red flag potential for the last couple of days and have been working towards containing the fire as best they can in anticipation.

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

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