FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Some evacuation orders are lifted in the Museum Fire area near Flagstaff.
The Coconino County Sheriff's Office downgraded pre-evacuations from "Set" to "Ready" for the Christmas Tree Estates and all areas north of Railhead, west on Highway 89 on Saturday, July 27.
The only area that remains in "Set" due to the Museum Fire is Mt. Elden Estates, confirmed City of Flagstaff Communication Manager Jessica Drum.
On Wednesday, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office announced it was lifting the evacuation of the residents living on Elden Lookout Road. Residents may start returning home at 1:30 p.m.
Fire officials say the "status and condition of the fire at this time is no longer an imminent threat to the Elden Lookout Road area."
Fire crews have been battling the Museum Fire since Sunday. The fire is located just north of Flagstaff.
The fire has burned 1,961 acres, and is at 82% containment.
Fire officials say last week's high humidity and rains allowed crews to gain ground fighting the fire.
"Firefighters made progress securing the west side perimeter as well as building line and strategic firing operations on the north and south sides," fire officials said in a news release.
On Tuesday, Gov. Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency in Coconino County for the Museum Fire.
Ducey said the Museum Fire has "proven to be a challenging blaze so far." He also said "the risk is very real."
Fire officials said a "successful" public meeting was held at Flagstaff High School Tuesday night. Another meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Coconino High School regarding flooding concerns near the fire.
Sunnyside Neighborhood Association is spearheading the sandbag effort in his neighborhood. They are in need of volunteers to go door-to-door and help those in the community unable to get sandbags.
They plan to fill about 9,000 sandbags this morning at the corner of E. First Avenue and N. Second Street.
Quick facts about Museum Fire:
Current evacuations: Residents from Mount Elden Lookout Road, all residents east of Weatherford Road with access on Mount Elden Lookout Road, the recreational areas of Forest Road 420 to Highway 89 (Mount Elden Lookout) and Schultz Pass Road.
Acres: Approx. 1,887 (up from original estimate of 1,000)
Location: 1 mile north of Flagstaff
Started: July 21, 2019
Current resources: Seven engines, four fuels hand crews, three Interagency Hotshot Crews, three Type-1 helicopters, two Type-III helicopters, four heavy fixed wing aircraft, four single engine air tankers, an air attack aircraft, three lead aircraft, a very large air tanker (VLAT), six patrols, and miscellaneous overhead personnel. Total personnel: approximately 600.
Additional resources ordered: 10 Hotshot crews, 20 engines, six dozers, four water tenders
Predicted smoke impacts: Significant smoke will impact the Flagstaff area and communities east of Flagstaff. Smoke will settle in low lying areas of Flagstaff and surrounding areas during the cooler hours and lift as the day warms up.
Current closures: Little Elden Spring Campground, various trails within the fire area, and a portion of the Arizona Trail within the fire area, which will be rerouted as needed.
Shelter: Sinagua Middle School, 3950 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ.
Pet shelter: Coconino Humane Association, located off 4th Street and Butler
On Monday, the Coconino National Forest said overnight fire crews were not able to conduct burnout operations due to the activity and the fire spotting ahead of itself, but took indirect suppression tactics where they could.
The Forest Service said it is hoping for more rain to help crews fight the fire. It wants the dry thunderstorms to stay away.
The Forest Service said the fire has moved east toward Red Onion Trail. Crews are dumping water and retardant on The Schultz Pass Area, hoping to keep the fire from spreading.
According to the Coconino National Forest, firefighters are responding with ground crews, engines, helicopters, fixed wing and attack aircraft.
Fire officials said the wildfire is human-caused but haven't determined exactly what sparked it.
The Coconino County Emergency Management has issued an evacuation order for residents from Mount Elden Lookout Road, all residents east of Weatherford Road with access on Mount Elden Lookout Road, the recreational areas of Forest Road 420 to Highway 89 (Mount Elden Lookout) and Schultz Pass Road.
Pre-evacuation notices have been issued to communities located near the fire area.
Forest officials Monday added more neighborhoods to the "pre-evacuation" list.
Newly-added areas include: West of Weatherford Rd, North of 180, Peak View Country Store, Magdalena, Kelly McCoy, Forest Hills, Valley Crest and Lockett Ranch.
Other areas that continue to be under “Set” (pre-evacuation) are the areas of Mt. Elden Lookout Estates, north and west of Highway 89 and Silver Saddle, Hutcheson Acres, McCann Estates all of Timberline communities including, Little Elden Springs, Black Bill Park, Wupatki Trails and Pine Mountain Estates, West of Highway 89 from Railhead north to Townsend-Winona, including the KOA Campground, Christmas Tree Estates and the U.S. Forest Service Peaks Ranger Station Office.
During the Set notification (pre-evacuation), residents are asked to pack any emergency items, be able to sustain for 72-hours and get information on the fire from official resources.
Rob Wilson owns Timberline Firearms and Training in the Timberline neighborhood.
“We’re in the set area of the evacuation, so we’ve already been told to be ready, and now we’re in the set mode,” said Wilson.
He said he has watched smoke from the fire get closer and closer to his business.
“Seeing all the smoke come over the mountain unfortunately is reminiscent of the Schultz Fire 10 years ago,” said Wilson. “That burned 18,000 acres up here, and there was a fatality. It’s scary because what we’re seeing is kind of the same thing happening all over again.”
Adrian Reyes said he chose to evacuate his senior living home as the fire got bigger.
"She said get ready to evacuate, so I called my daughter..." said Reyes. "She says, 'Oh my God,' and she comes over and picked me up and brought me over here to spend the night here."
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office has gone door-to door to contact people in these neighborhoods.
The American Red Cross has set-up a shelter at Sinagua Middle School, 3950 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ.
The Coconino Humane Association, located off 4th Street and Butler, is the Designated Emergency Evacuation Shelter for your pets during the Museum Fire.
If you need of temporary sheltering of your animals they ask that you call 928-526-1076. Shelter staff is available 24 hours a day during the emergency to help assist our community.
#museumfire update: An evacuation notice has been issued for recreational areas of Forest Rd. 420 to Hwy 89 (Mount Elden Lookout) and Schultz Pass Rd. to private land. A pre-evacuation notice has also been issued for the area of Forest Rd. 420 to Friedlein Prairie. pic.twitter.com/4pHSAjVxhJ— Coconino County (@CoconinoCounty) July 21, 2019
Amanda Matje lives near the Museum Fire and said she had an alert that she was in a pre-evacuation area.
“My daughter was really scared,” said Matje. “We didn’t want to get evacuated. We have chickens and goats and didn’t want to deal with getting them out of there.”
She said her family put together go bags in case they do need to leave quickly.
Her daughter, Daisy Matje, took pictures of the fire from the sidewalk.
“The second thing I saw like after all those puff of smoke, like a big flash of orange fire coming up over the ridge. I was really surprised and scared at the same time,” said Daisy.
She said it’s the first wildfire she has ever seen.
“I wanted to make sure I was safe,” said Daisy. “I didn’t like it. I was almost ready to go to my nana and papa who live in Phoenix.”
Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statement after being briefed on the fire.
“Our office is in close contact with emergency officials as they work to contain the Museum Fire. My thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters and first responders working to protect Arizonans, their pets and their property. Thank you for your dedicated efforts. We will continue to monitor the situation and deploy additional resources as necessary. Arizonans and visitors in the area should be ready to respond to any evacuation notices.” - Governor Doug Ducey
Coconino National Forest added that smoke is visible from Flagstaff and nearby communities.
Forest officials are urging the public to use extreme caution when driving on U.S. Highways 180 and 89 north of Flagstaff as firefighting vehicles will be responding to the area.
#MuseumFire north of Flagstaff. First reported at 5 acres, but growing. Firefighting resources on scene include multiple engines, crews, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and nearly 100 personnel. More info will be posted here as updates are received. pic.twitter.com/CZ7i3bq1Z5— Coconino NF (@CoconinoNF) July 21, 2019