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Cecil Fire: The latest on the wildfire near Flagstaff

Oct. 3, 2023: Community meeting updates northern Arizona residents on the Cecil Fire

Forest management officials gave a community update on a fire in northern Arizona that’s been allowed to burn for two weeks in order to prevent higher intensity flames in the area. 

The so-called Cecil Fire has burned about 2,200 acres. It started with a lightning strike in ponderosa pine trees southwest of Flagstaff and it’s in line with the Forest Service’s plan to strategically manage wildfires and letting them burn so there’s less fuel for larger fires later. It’s burned more than 2,000 acres so far. It’s also created a lot of dense smoke. 

Coconino national forest District Ranger Matt McGrath described conditions since last Wednesday.

"It started getting smokier and smokier. And then it went on through the day," he said. 

He described heavy smoke drifting through car headlights. He said the Forest Service didn’t anticipate so much smoke to drift into Flagstaff this past weekend. 

But, he said, the fire now means less more dangerous fires later.

Oct. 2, 2023: Northern Arizona community meeting Monday night to discuss Cecil Fire

The Forest Service is holding a community meeting Monday night at 6 p.m. to discuss its progress on the Cecil Fire in northern Arizona.

The fire has been inundating Flagstaff and Sedona with smoke. It started as a lightning sparked blaze two weeks ago and is burning in ponderosa pine.

Officials are monitoring activity and say it’s needed to reduce fuels that lead to higher intensity fires.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the  Arizona Department of Forestry Facebook page

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.