National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Header

NWS Flagstaff Logo

 

Media is free to use the NWS Flagstaff Event Summary information. Please acknowledge the NWS as the source of any information accessed from the site unless otherwise noted.

NWS Flagstaff Logo

Summary
 

The Schultz Fire burned on the mountains located north of Flagstaff, AZ (the San Francisco Peaks). This event, caused by an abandoned campfire, lasted from June 20 - 30, 2010 and burned over ten thousand acres of mountaineous terrain. Due to the proximity of the fire to Flagstaff (the local population center), the event quickly gained national media attention.

 
Timeline
Outline of the Schultz Fire. Graphic Credit: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Outline of the Schultz Fire. Graphic Credit: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Map of the Schultz Fire burn severity throughout the burn scar area. Figure credit: USDA Forest Service, Schultz Fire BAER Report

Map of the Schultz Fire burn severity throughout the burn scar area. Figure credit: USDA Forest Service, Schultz Fire BAER Report

Outline of the Schultz Fire. Graphic Credit: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Outline of the Schultz Fire. Graphic Credit: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

  • June 20 at 11:00 AM: Approximate time the fire was started and began to spread northeastward between Mt. Elden and the San Francisco Peaks.

  • June 20: Air tankers were in use to begin the firefight. A Type 1 team and four Hotshot crews were ordered.

  • June 21 between 1:30 to 7:30 PM: Operation of the air support was suspended due to gusty winds in the vicinity of the fire.

  • June 21: More than 300 firefighters, a Type 1 response team, air support and 52 engines were on scene for fire fighting support. Estimated to have burned more than 10,000 acres and was classified as being 10% contained.

  • June 22: Similar support staffing and resources as June 21. Estimated to have burned more than 14,000 acres and was classified as being 20% contained.

  • June 23: Around 960 firefighters, a Type 1 response team, air support and 62 engines were on scene for fire fighting support. Estimated to have burned more than 14,500 acres and was classified as being 25% contained.

  • June 30: The fire grew to 15,075 acres, or 23.5 square miles before being contained on June 30th.

  • June 30-Mid July: Some smoke was still seen in the interior of the fire for nearly 3 weeks after containment.
Impacts
  • Two firefighters were injured.
  • No structure damage was reported.
  • Evacuations were in effect for three neighborhoods (about 750 residential houses and one animal shelter).
  • Closure of Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments for three days.
  • Highway 89 and other roads in the vicinity of the fire were closed.
  • Significant loss of mixed conifer vegetation to the mountain ecosystems.
  • Fighting the fire cost $8.6 million.
  • Created conditions which produced flash flooding later that summer from monsoon rainfall.
Pictures

 

Smoke seen from east Flagstaff over Mount Elden. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Smoke seen from east Flagstaff over Mount Elden. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Helicopter flying in front of the smoke produced by the Schultz Fire. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Helicopter flying in front of the smoke produced by the Schultz Fire. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Smoke and flames of the Schultz Fire as seen from Doney Park. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Smoke and flames of the Schultz Fire as seen from Doney Park. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Smoke seen from east Flagstaff over Mount Elden. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Smoke seen from east Flagstaff over Mount Elden. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Helicopter picking up water that will be used for the Schultz Fire containment effort. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Helicopter picking up water that will be used for the Schultz Fire containment effort. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Flying helicopter used to help contain the Schultz Fire. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Flying helicopter used to help contain the Schultz Fire. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Flames associated with the Schultz Fire on the side of mountainous terrain. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Flames associated with the Schultz Fire on the side of mountainous terrain. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Effects of the fire on the mixed-conifer mountain ecosystems. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Effects of the fire on the mixed-conifer mountain ecosystems. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Air tanker flying in front of the smoke of the Schultz Fire. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Air tanker flying in front of the smoke of the Schultz Fire. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Smoke from the beginning of the fire on June 20, 2010 around noon. Photo credit: Mike Elson

Smoke from the beginning of the fire on June 20, 2010 around noon. Photo credit: Mike Elson

Large plume of smoke, as seen from Doney Park, moving northeastward. Photo credit: Mike Elson

Large plume of smoke, as seen from Doney Park, moving northeastward. Photo credit: Mike Elson

Smoke associated with the Schultz Fire. Photo credit: Mike Elson

Smoke associated with the Schultz Fire. Photo credit: Mike Elson

Meteorology

 

Strong southwest winds (15-20 mph), low relative humidity (8-13%), and dry vegetation all combined to create favorable conditions for the Schultz Fire. The southwest winds were the main cause for the northeastward track of the Schultz Fire, while the seasonably-normal dry vegetation acted as the fuels for the fire. During the early summer timeframe, all of these conditions are typical and can create enhanced fire behavior throughout northern Arizona. The month of June is typically the height of the northern Arizona fire season.

Points of Contact

For more information on impacts and general inquiries about this event, please reference the contacts below:

  • National Weather Service: Brian Klimowski, Meteorologist-in-Charge at (928) 556-9161 ext. 222 or brian.klimowski@noaa.gov
    Tony Merriman, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at (928) 556-9161 ext. 223 or tony.merriman@noaa.gov

  • Coconino County Emergency Manager at (928) 679-8310

  • U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest: Flagstaff Ranger Station at (928) 526-0866 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM M-F