Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Arizona fires continue; smoke from blaze in Tonto forest reaches Valley

Liz Kotalik in the Arizona Republic:   The haze that sat on top of the Valley on Monday afternoon is expected to be cleared away by southeasterly winds Tuesday as the northern Arizona fires that pushed the smoke south continue to blaze.

Monday's smoke came from the Sunflower Fire in the Tonto National Forest, which remained uncontained Monday evening, according to David Albo with the Tonto National Forest. It has burned about 3,100 acres, and its cause was still under investigation.

The state and county air-quality departments issued a health watch Monday evening for the Valley that will last until 5 a.m. today, Mark Shaffer with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said.

This is caused by extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets found circulating in the air, specifically from the Sunflower Fire smoke, Shaffer said. An ozone health watch was also issued Monday and extended into today because of high temperatures. These temperatures are estimated to be between 102 and 106 degrees locally today with no heat advisory in effect, according to Dan Leins with the National Weather Service.

Other fires are burning across the state, including the Gladiator Fire, which forced almost all residents of Crown King to evacuate their homes Monday afternoon, according to Dwight D'Evelyn with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office...

A fire in Sedona, Arizona, earlier in 2012, shot by Coffeegirlyme, public domain

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