Cellar Fire burning in Prescott National Forest, 47% contained

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (FOX 10) — The Cellar Fire caused by lightning is burning in the Prescott National Forest with almost half of it contained. The fire is being managed as a Type 3 incident.

The Cellar Fire in the Prescott National Forest has burned 7,512 acres with 47 percent containment. The fire is said to have started due to a lightning strike.

The fire is burning about 16 miles south of Prescott. Air tankers, a helicopter, and several hotshot crews are working to fight the flames, but the hot, dry, and windy conditions aren't helping.

"It's going to be a complex fire regardless," said Gabrielle Kenton with the Prescott National Forest. "There is a lot of vegetation."

The Forest Service says people can expect to see smoke in the area for the next few days.

On Thursday, Yavapai County officials ordered residents in the Pine Flats area to evacuate, due to wildfire threats. A shelter has been set up at Prescott High School.

The following roads have been closed:

For more information on the Cellar Fire and closures in the area, click here.

"Frustrated, sad, scared," said Crystal Makinson. She grew up in Pine Flat, and on Wednesday, she was driving in and out of the community, helping people evacuate.

"I have been helping my aunt and uncle. I have been helping my friends move. Trying to get stuff out, goats, donkeys, and chickens," said Makinson.

The fire was burning less than five miles from the community.

Kenton said fire crews are working hard to make sure the fire, which was moving northeast as of Wednesday, doesn't change course to move directly north, because that is where there is more fuel.

"When it gets greener, there is a lot more timber and thick, dense timber with beetle kill in it that can create problems," said Kenton.

Meanwhile, Pine Flat is in the middle of where the Goodwin Fire hit in June 2017 and burned about 28,000 acres of land. The fire forced hundreds to evacuate their homes. As it turns out, this is good news for residents.

"Pine Flat is in the middle of the footprint of the Goodwin Fire, so this has all been recently treated, which is a benefit for us to protect Pine Flat," said Noel Fletcher, Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That, however, is not easing any of Makinson's stress.

"I am hoping that it obviously doesn't burn," said Makinson.