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Flag Fire 13% contained, evacuations stay in effect

The Flag Fire burns in the Hualapai Mountains on Sunday, April 25. (Courtesy photo by Samuel Rhine)

The Flag Fire burns in the Hualapai Mountains on Sunday, April 25. (Courtesy photo by Samuel Rhine)

KINGMAN – The Flag Fire in the Hualapai Mountains has been remapped by Southwest Area Incident Management Team 1 and is now reported at 13% contained and 1,279 acres, a decrease of more than 100 acres from the morning of Wednesday, April 28.

The Flag Fire broke out at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday, April 25. While the specific cause of the fire is under investigation, investigators have used process of elimination to determine the blaze was human caused.

The incident management team wrote in a news release on Thursday, April 29 that more-accurate mapping conducted on Wednesday resulted in decreased acreage of the Flag Fire from 1,400 acres to 1,279 acres. Heavy fog and cloud cover prevented helicopter reconnaissance over the fire area for much of the day Wednesday.

Tuesday’s precipitation allowed fire crews to secure portions of the eastern fire line and continue making progress on rougher terrain to the north and west perimeters. According to InciWeb, the federal fire information center, there are 327 fire personnel working the blaze.

“Crews working directly on the fire perimeter have been cold trailing and extinguishing hot spots,” the release noted. “They are also removing hazard trees, increasing fire lines and creating barriers down slope to stop potential rollout of burning materials. These actions will continue through tomorrow.”

The incident management team also addressed the change in weather, with building high pressure, low humidity and higher temperatures forecast for the area toward the end of the week and early next week.

According to the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, the high for Friday, April 30 is forecast at 92 degrees, paired with winds of 6 to 13 mph. Saturday is forecast to have a similar high alongside winds of 11 to 21 mph and gusts as high as 30 mph, with the temperature dropping to a high of near 85 degrees Sunday, May 2. High temperature forecasts for next week range from the low to upper 80s.

“To prepare for forecasted increased fire weather conditions, fire managers are intent on securing this fire’s perimeter,” the incident management team wrote.

Approximately 200 homes in the Pine Lake community were evacuated on Sunday, as was Hualapai Mountain Park. Fire managers and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office are coordinating to assess when evacuated residents can return to their homes.

“Heavy truck traffic, bulldozers and other equipment along access roads continue, making access roads difficult and hazardous,” the release reads. “For those reasons, and continued uncertainty with fire activity, the current evacuations remain in effect.”

Atherton Acres and Pinion Pine communities remain on SET status for evacuations, meaning evacuation orders are imminent and residents should start preparing to evacuate.

With fire danger being high, the incident management team urges caution when recreating or working outdoors. To check for fire restrictions or information on fire activity, go to https://wildlandfire.az.gov/.

Caleb Finch, in charge of planning and operations for the management team, said in a video posted to the Bureau of Land Management – Arizona Facebook page that resources in the area of Pine Lake will continue focusing on mop up, extinguishing hots spots and addressing any areas of concern. Crews will also continue hot spot and cold trail efforts at the fire’s edge moving south. Crews on the west side of the fire, Division Tango, and the north side, Division Whiskey, will engage in similar mitigation efforts.

Division Delta, to the south, is still unstaffed as the fire footprint has not moved in several days. However, the area continues to be monitored.

“Today we have an initial attack group established and ready to respond to any new starts within our area of responsibility, as well as support the local firefighting resources within the area of Kingman and the local agencies,” Finch said.

Information provided by Southwest Area Incident Management Team 1

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