Cloud cover on Friday helped firefighters begin containing the Cellar Fire, burning south of Prescott.

The fire has burned 7,393 acres and was 18% contained on Friday evening, according to an update from Prescott National Forest officials. 

Fire officials said Friday’s unexpected cloud cover and higher humidity allowed crews to improve containment of the fire and keep it from progressing along the southern perimeter. 

Retardant from air tankers kept the fire from spreading on the east side, and bulldozers worked on creating a fire line on the west and north sides of the fire. 

“Firefighters will continue to actively engage in fully suppressing the fire where they can do so safely and effectively,” Prescott National Forest officials said in a statement Friday night. 

Firefighters are focusing on protecting property at risk, such as private property and buildings around the evacuated and cautioned areas. This includes protecting private property and infrastructures in and around Pine Flats, Potato Patch, Wolf Creek, Groom Creek, Indian Creek Walker and Crown King. There is a potential for heavy smoke this weekend.

A community meeting on the Cellar Fire will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Crown King Fire Department, 7235 Main St. The meeting will be livestreamed on the Prescott National Forest Facebook page. 


Aerial footage of the Cellar Fire. This footage was taken in the area of North Fork, on the northeastern side of the fire, on July 18, 2019.
U.S. Forest Service – Prescott National Forest

The lightning-caused fire began Sunday about 16 miles south of Prescott. About 600 personnel, including 10 hotshot crews, are working to contain the fire.

On Thursday, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office ordered residents in Pine Flat to be evacuated. A shelter has been set up at Prescott High School. 

The communities of Walker, Groom Creek, Wolf Creek, Potato Patch, Indian Creek and Crown King remain in “Ready” status, which means they should be prepared to evacuate. 

A closure remains in effect on the Prescott National Forest, including everything south of Wolf Creek and moving south toward the community of Crown King. Crown King remains open for business. 

About the Cellar Fire

Acres burned: 7,393 acres.

Percent containment: 18%.

Started: July 14.

Cause: Lightning.

Where it started: 16 miles south of Prescott in the Prescott National Forest.

Fuels: Ponderosa pine (upper elevation), brush, grass and chaparral (lower elevation).

Resources: Nearly 600 personnel, including 10 hotshot crews.

Evacuations: On Thursday, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office issued a mandatory evacuation for the residents in Pine Flat, which is northeast of the fire. A shelter has been set up at Prescott High School. 

What’s expected this weekend: Potential of heavier smoke into the weekend. 

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @curtis_chels

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral today.

Read or Share this story: