Prolonged windy spell and critical fires expected in northern Arizona

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for all of northern Arizona. Wind advisories and critical weather fires are expected to continue at least through Wednesday next week.

A wind advisory is also in effect today for all of northern Arizona except for the lower deserts of Yavapai County and northern Gila County.

According to the NWS, gusty winds, dry fuels and low humidity will cause a high fire hazard with easier fire starts and rapid spread of new or existing fires.

Strong winds can produce difficult driving conditions for high-profile vehicles in particular, as well as reduced visibility from blowing dust and sand over northeastern Arizona.

Level 1 fire restrictions are in place for the Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott, Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, as well as the Williams, Sedona and Tusayan Ranger Districts.

Stage 1 restrictions prohibit fires of any kind outside designated areas. This includes charcoal and briquette fires. Smoking is prohibited except in enclosed vehicles, buildings or furnished recreational sites and should be done in areas where flammable materials have been removed. It is also forbidden to discharge firearms, except during a legal hunt.

Forest Service officials say fire restrictions will remain in place until there is significant moisture to reduce wildfire danger.

Cooler temperatures are expected to settle in for a few days from Sunday, but no precipitation is expected.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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