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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 22, 2015

7/18/2013 6:00:00 AM
Forests, most of county lift fire bans; rains welcome after record-hot June
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

The Prescott, Coconino, Kaibab and Tonto national forests all dropped their seasonal fire-use bans Wednesday because of monsoon moisture.

The Coconino Forest also reopened the Fossil Creek area that closed July 1 because of wildfire danger.

And the Prescott Forest reopened Thumb Butte just west of Prescott Tuesday. It was closed because peregrine falcons were nesting there. The falcons also nested on Granite Mountain, but it remains closed because of the Doce wildfire. Officials said they're still waiting to hear if the nesting was successful at these two sites, which are popular climbing areas.

The fire bans started on May 22 on the Prescott Forest and Yavapai County private lands.

Local fire bans also were rescinded Wednesday on private lands in northern and central Yavapai County.

But fire bans on private lands remain in place in eastern Yavapai County (Verde Valley except Jerome) and southern Yavapai County (Black Canyon City and Wilhoit on south), where less rain has fallen.

All the remaining bans on private land in Yavapai County are likely to be lifted by the end of this week, however, as more rain is expected to fall, Yavapai County Emergency Management Coordinator Denny Foulk said.

So far this month, the official Prescott measuring site at the city's Sundog wastewater treatment plant has recorded 1.68 inches of rain. The long-term average is 2.87 inches.

Monsoon rains arrived a bit earlier than usual in Prescott this year, on June 30. Usually the first rains fall closer to Independence Day.

The 1.68 inches recorded for July through Wednesday at Sundog includes 0.45 inches that actually fell on June 30. That's because city workers at Sundog include rain after 3 p.m. in the next day's numbers.

It was an extremely hot day before the storm hit, since the Prescott airport tied a 1950 record of 102 degrees on June 30.

The storm that brought rain to Prescott June 30 unfortunately did not bring rain to the Yarnell Hill wildfire about 20 miles south. Downdrafts from the storm system dramatically shifted the winds on the fire and killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots from the Prescott Fire Department.

The Sundog site recorded only 0.01 inches of rain for June since the 0.45 inches were included in July's numbers. Bagdad, Camp Verde, Castle Hot Springs, Jerome and Seligman all recorded zero precipitation in June. It's traditionally the driest month of the year in northern Arizona. The average for June in Prescott is 0.38 inches.

The rain has been especially welcome after last month's extreme dry heat.

June was the hottest month on record for Prescott, where records date back to 1898. The average temperature for the month was 74.1 degrees here. Jerome, Winslow, the Show Low airport and Walnut Canyon National Monument also recorded their hottest Junes in history, the Weather Service reported.

Prescott and the Prescott airport set four daily heat records in June:

• June 7 - The Prescott airport's high of 97 tied the 1996 record (records date to 1948 at the airport). Cottonwood also tied its record of 107 set in 1996.

• June 28 - Prescott's Sundog site set a record of 104 degrees, breaking the previous record of 102 set in 1900. The Prescott airport also set a record of 104, breaking the previous record of 100 set in 1990. Cottonwood's 114 degrees broke the record of 110 from 1994, and Seligman's 105 degrees broke the record of 103 from 1970.

• June 30 - The Prescott airport recorded 102 degrees, which tied the record from 1950.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: What? What?

A few days of rain and feel safe...more like "fail safe" if you remember.

Close the forest for the summer in honor of the 19.

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Um, should have mentioned that I live about a mile north of downtown...

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

I have measured just over two inches at my house, over the same time period.


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