(Originally published at 10:53 a.m. MDT July 21, 2019)
The Hart Fire 18 miles northeast of Payson, Arizona was very active Saturday and Saturday night, spreading south for about a mile. The Coconino National Forest has not updated the information about the fire on InciWeb since July 19, but part of the growth could be due to firing out along Forest Roads 96 and 321.
The fire is not being fully suppressed, according to the strategy described by the Coconino National Forest on July 19:
After careful review and discussion by fire managers, both Hart and Duke Fires will be allowed to burn in their predetermined fire perimeter to obtain resource objectives. Low intensity wildfires are used to help protect ponderosa pine forests from more severe damage by cleaning the forest floor of existing dried pine needles, dead shrubs and grasses. Too much accumulation of dried and dead fuels could allow fires to reach the canopy of the trees and possible crown fires. Fire also helps fertilize the soils to ensure a healthier forest.
The term “their predetermined fire perimeter” is not defined and as far as we can tell no maps of that area have been posted.
The Duke Fire is 10 miles north of the Hart Fire, north of highway 65/87/282, and has not been very active recently.
The Hart Fire is burning at 7,000 feet. The last update by the Forest Service on July 19 said it had burned 1,100 acres. Our very unofficial estimate based on satellite data shows that it has most likely burned two to three times that amount.
The weather forecast for the Hart Fire for the next few days predicts temperatures in the 80s, humidity less than 20 percent, and a chance of thunderstorms each day beginning Monday.