UPDATE 9:38 a.m. Friday, July 7 — The Goodwin Fire is 95 percent contained, and officials are turning their attention to post-fire flood threats as monsoon conditions build. The fire burned 28,516 acres, or 44.5 square miles. It’s cause remains under investigation. [Barring any surprises, this will be the final update on this fire.]
UPDATE 9:57 a.m. Monday, July 3 — The fire has burned 28,336 acres and is 75 percent contained. Firefighters are conducting burnout operations to hold a line on the northwest portion of the fire “to prevent fire from threatening Breezy Pines and Walker,” officials said. The fire’s cause remains unknown.
UPDATE 9:40 a.m. Sunday, July 2 — The Goodwin fire, which began June 24 some 30 miles north of Phoenix between Prescott and Mayer, grew to 27,327 acres as of this morning, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. It is 53 percent contained. In the first days of the fire, smoke was visible from North Phoenix, but today the fire, which remains active, is producing less smoke, and winds are likely to push the smoke to the northeast.
“Firefighters made excellent progress overnight burning out an area near the northwest corner of Big Bug Mesa, east of Breezy Pines,” the forestry department said in a statement today. “The burnout operation is expected to be complete today. Additional fire retardant has been applied on this section of the fire to help reinforce the perimeter.”
For perspective, the fire’s perimeter covers 62 miles.
“Patrol flights yesterday saw little smoke coming from the southern and eastern portions of the fire,” the agency said. “However, smoke could be seen from burning interior islands of vegetation and the burnout operation in the northwest. The public is reminded that smoke seen coming from interior portions of the fire is not a cause of concern at this time.”
Some 1,222 personnel continue to battle the blaze.
Winds — one of the most significant challenges for firefighters — are expected to be higher today, with gusts of 25-30 mph possible.
“There is still active fire behavior, particularly in the northern portion of the fire, and conditions can change easily if impacted by high wind events,” officials said. Information about evacuations is available here.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office announced yesterday the arrest of a man who flew a drone in the area of the fire, halting aerial operations.
[EARLIER UPDATES BELOW]
UPDATE 9:46 a.m. Friday, June 30 — Firefighters began to get a handle yesterday on the Goodwin Fire, burning 30 miles north of Phoenix between Prescott and Mayer. As of this morning the fire had burned 25,342 acres and was 43 percent contained, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
UPDATE 9:45 a.m. Thursday, June 29 — The Goodwin Fire 30 miles north of Phoenix grew from 20,644 acres yesterday to 24,828 acres today, with containment still at 1 percent, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.
Residents of Mayer were allowed to return to their homes. The following communities remained under evacuation: Pine Flat, Breezy Pines, Poland Junction, Chauncey Ranch Rd., Mt. Union, Walker, Upper Blue Hills, Potato Patch, Dewey west of SR69, and Mountain Pine Acres.
Yesterday, air operations were shut down due to someone flying a drone in the area. Air drops have been one of the key tactics for fighting this fire, officials said. “It is dangerous, it is stupid, and you are committing a crime,” Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted today. “So please, just don’t do it,” he said of flying drones near wildfires.
UPDATE 11:47 a.m. Wednesday, June 28 — The Goodwin Fire 30 miles north of Phoenix had burned 20,644 acres as of this morning (up from 18,000 last night), and containment remained at 1 percent, according to the state forestry department. All evacuations announced yesterday (see below) remain in place.
“The fire was active last night,” officials said in a statement. High winds and low humidity expected today will create “another extremely dangerous day for firefighters on the line.”
Some 1,000 personnel are now battling the blaze, which hopped State Highway 69 near Mayer Tuesday afternoon.
“The Goodwin Fire is the state of Arizona’s top priority right now,” Gov. Doug Ducey said this morning. “The next 24 hours will be critical, and the state will provide whatever support and resources are necessary to assist firefighters and residents in the region.”
The fire’s smoke plume is visible in an image from NASA’s Earth-monitoring Aqua satellite, taken Tuesday and released this morning. While the smoke was visible from North Phoenix yesterday, this morning it was blowing toward Sedona and Flagstaff, officials said.
[INITIAL STORY BELOW]
INITIAL ARTCLE, first posted June 27, 2017 at 2:56 p.m.
Smoke North of Phoenix from Fire South of Prescott
UPDATED 10:07 p.m. Tuesday, June 27 — A billowing plume of smoke visible from North Phoenix Tuesday was some 30 miles north of the city’s northern border, drifting west-to-east across the horizon. Its origin: the Goodwin Fire, a fast-moving blaze that began roughly 8 miles west of Mayer and 14 miles south of Prescott, later forcing road closures and evacuations and causing power outages.
The fire fed on “volatile and explosive fuels,” according to a tweet Tuesday night from the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. “Winds also creating unsafe conditions.”
Several evacuations were ordered Tuesday afternoon, according to the forestry department and Yavapai County Emergency Management:
- Mayer (a town of about 1,400 people)
- Breezy Pines
- Pine Flat
- Chaparral Hills
- Poland Junction
“We have a number of customers in Prescott, Mayer, Dewey without power” due to fire, APS said Tuesday evening.
The fire grew from 4,000 acres early Tuesday to 18,000 acres by evening, the forestry department said Tuesday night, adding that it was 1 percent contained.
The fire started Monday. It was burning in thick, dry, chaparral and ponderosa pine “in very rugged terrain with little access, which makes conditions hazardous for firefighters,” the forestry department said.
Firefighters had to pull back from the fire at times to stay safe.
“We’re trying to organize chaos,” Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher said Tuesday night, referring to the winds, dry conditions and fuel in front of the fire.
The following communities were in pre-evacuation status Tuesday night, meaning an evacuation could be ordered: Walker, Potato Patch, Mountain Pines Acres, and Mount Union.
A shelter had been set up at the Mayer High School but was relocated to the Bradshaw Mountain High School at 6000 Long Look Drive, Prescott Valley. State Route 69 was closed mid-afternoon between I-17 and State Route 169, due to the fire, ADOT said.
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More than 500 firefighters battled the blaze, including 29 engines, six Hotshot crews, six helicopters and two air tankers. The cause is under investigation.
As of yesterday, Arizona has experienced 1,052 fires this year, with 160,645 acres burned. By this time last year there had been 1,022 fires and 159,368 acres burned.