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 More crews headed to northern Arizona wildfire
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7 months ago

More crews headed to northern Arizona wildfire

OAK CREEK CANYON, Ariz. (AP) - Hundreds of firefighters are pouring into northern Arizona to battle a wind-whipped wildfire burning in scenic Oak Creek Canyon near Slide Rock State Park.

Coconino National Forest officials say 200 firefighters are already assigned to the fire, including five Hotshot crews.

An additional 15 Hotshot crews are on order, as well as 10 additional firefighting crews plus dozens of fire engines.

The Slide Fire has forced the evacuations of 100 threatened businesses and homes in a 2-mile stretch north of the state park, and 15 people stayed at a shelter in Flagstaff.

There are no reports so far of injuries or structures burned. Slide Rock State Park is a popular recreation area because of its natural rock water slides.

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3 years ago

New forest fire breaks out near Heber-Overgaard

HEBER-OVERGAARD, Ariz. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service is rushing crews to the scene of a new forest fire on the Mogollon Rim.

The Wash fire was reported Thursday morning just northeast of Heber-Overgaard and has burned an estimated 400 acres.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest spokeswoman Pam Baltimore says fire engines, bulldozers and hotshot crews are fighting the fire which started where state routes 277 and 377 intersect.

Parts of the highways are closed in the area.

Baltimore says power is out in the area and utility crews are working to restore service.

The cause of the fire isn't immediately known. Flames are being driven northeast by gusty winds.

NewsMap

View Wash Fire location in a larger map

3 years ago

El Camino Fire almost fully contained

ARIVACA - The 618-acre El Camino Fire is expected to be fully contained by 6 p.m. this evening.

The small fire, which originated in Mexico on Sunday, is currently burning about 11 miles south of Arivaca, and 9.5 miles southeast of Sasabe, according to the final update from incident officials.

There was minimal fire movement today, but some interior smoke - fire personnel will monitor the site of the fire for the next several days for any flare-up activity.

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3 years ago

Containment of El Camino Fire expected tomorrow

NOGALES - The El Camino Fire, a 618-acre wildfire that started in Mexico and spread into the Coronado National Forest's Noagles Ranger District on Sunday, is now 70 percent contained.

The fire is burning in steep terrain consisting mostly of grass, bruth, and some scrub oak and mesquite.

A crew of 65, including three engines, and a type 3 helicopter made "good progress" yesterday, according to incident officials, and are continuing to construct direct line to secure the perimeter today.

Officials expect the fire to be full contained by tomorrow.

Pictured: This map shows the approximate location of the El Camino Fire, northwest of Nogales. Courtesy: inciweb.org

3 years ago

Sen. John McCain ties fires to illegal border crossings

PHOENIX - Sen. John McCain fanned some political flames when he said some wildfires blazing in Arizona were likely started by people who crossed the border illegally.

"There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally," McCain, R-Ariz., said during a news conference in Springerville on Saturday, apparently referring to blazes in southern Arizona. "The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border."

However, when he was asked which fires were started by immigrants, he did not provide any specific examples.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R- Ariz., who also was at the news conference, offered an answer.
"Horseshoe was one," he said, referring to a May 2010 blaze near Portal (not this year's Horseshoe Two Fire).

The senators' remarks came a day after Gov. Jan Brewer said that the causes and sources of two southern Arizona fires have not been determined and that an investigation is under way.
Authorities are blaming the Wallow Fire in northern Arizona on an abandoned campfire and questioned two "persons of interest," but the people's identities were not released and no arrests were made. The U.S. Forest Service said an investigation is ongoing.

When asked whether illegal immigrants may have played a role in the Wallow Fire, Tom Berglund, a Forest Service spokesman, said, "Absolutely not, according to what I've been told."

"It is frustrating that John McCain is saying things that are baseless and unsubstantiated," said Randy Parraz of Scottsdale, an immigration activist who sought the Democratic nomination in 2010 to challenge for McCain's Senate seat. "Is he connected to reality or trying to fan the flames of fear and intolerance?"

Today, Sen. McCain, Sen. Kyl, and two state congressmen released the following statement:

"Arizona is currently facing the worst wildfire season in its history. After touring the devastation in eastern Arizona, we would like to express our gratitude to the brave firefighters, first responders, and public lands personnel who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to preserve communities, homes, and our natural habitats.

"During our tour of the damaged areas caused by the Wallow Fire on Saturday, we were briefed by senior Forest Service officials, one of whom informed us that some wildfires in Arizona (across our southern border) are regrettably caused by drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. This statement is consistent with what we've been hearing for years, as well as testimony by the Forest Service and media reports dating back as far as 2006.

"While Arizonans continue to face the enormous challenges related to these wildfires, it's unfortunate that some are inserting their political agenda into this tragedy."

News 4 Tucson's affiliate in Phoenix, KPNX, contributed to this report.

3 years ago

18 Marriott brand hotels offer discounts to wildfire victims

SIERRA VISTA - Participating Marriott Hotels in Arizona are offering discounted rates for victims of the Arizona Wildfires.

Rates range from $49-$95 and are available at some of the following Marriott-brand hotels: Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, and TownePlace Suits by Marriott.

Guests can book online using promotional code RL4, and must provide proof of residency in an affected area at check-in.

The 18 participating Marriott hotels are:

Courtyard Tucson Williams
Centre

201 South Williams
Boulevard
(520) 745-6000
Courtyard Tucson Airport
2505 East Executive Drive
(520) 573-0000
Courtyard Phoenix
Chandler
920 N 54th Street
(480) 763-9500
Courtyard Phoenix
Camelback
2101 East Camelback Road
(602) 955-5200
Courtyard Phoenix Mesa

1221 South Westwood
Avenue
(480) 461-3000
Courtyard Phoenix Airport
2621 South 47th Street
(480) 966-4300
Courtyard Phoenix North
9631 North Black Canyon
Highway
(602) 944-7373
Residence Inn Phoenix
Airport
801 North 44th Street
(602) 273-9220
Residence Inn Phoenix
Desert View at Mayo Clinic
5665 East Mayo Boulevard
(480) 563-1500
Scottsdale Marriott at
McDowell Mountains

16770 North Perimeter
Drive
(480) 502-3836
marriott.com/phxno
Scottsdale Marriott Suites
Old Town
7325 East Third Avenue
(480) 945-1550
marriott.com/phxst
Courtyard Scottsdale at
Mayo Clinic

13444 East Shea Boulevard
(480) 860-4000
marriott.com/phxmy
Courtyard Scottsdale Old
Town

3311 North Scottsdale Road
(480) 429-7785
marriott.com/phxsc
Courtyard Tempe
Downtown

601 South Ash Avenue
(480) 966-2800
marriott.com/phxte
Residence Inn Scottsdale
Paradise Valley
6040 North Scottsdale Rd
(480) 948-8666
marriott.com/phxrs
Residence Inn Tempe
5075 South Priest Drive
(480) 756-2122
marriott.com/phxrt
Residence Inn Flagstaff
3440 N Country Club Drive
(928) 526-5555
marriott.com/flgri
TownePlace Suites
Scottsdale
10740 North 90th Street
(480) 551-1100
marriott.com/phxto

3 years ago

3 cited for illegal campfire in Yavapai County

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - Three men have been cited for starting an illegal campfire in the Beaver Creek area of Lake Montezuma in Yavapai County.

Deputies and U.S. Forest Service crews followed a smoke plume and found the campfire Thursday along the creek. The three men were cited for reckless burning.

Current fire restrictions include no campfires, residential burning and no smoking outside vehicles because of tinder dry conditions in Arizona's forests.

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3 years ago

Squirrels to be collected to insure against wildfire destruction

MOUNT GRAHAM - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials will attempt to collect four endangered Mount Graham red squirrels as an insurance against the chance of their habitat and entire species being lost to a potential wildfire.

Mount Graham red squirrels live exclusively in the Pinaleno Mountains in southeastern Arizona - and as conditions in that area are extremely dry and fire-prone, officials will collect two male and two female squirrels before it's too late.

Meteorologists are predicting several dry lightning events before the monsoon rains begin in the Pinalenos, which would immediately close all roads to that area, rending it too late to rescue any squirrels, USFWS officials say.

Collected squirrels will be taken the Arthur L. and Elaine V. Johnson Foundation Conservation Center at the Phoenix Zoo, and if necessary, these squirrels and their offspring could serve as a seed population for restoring the species to the wild.

The latest survey from Fall 2010 puts the number of Mount Graham red squirrels at 214.

Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

3 years ago

Updated Monument fire evacuations

The latest from the Cochise County Sheriff's Department:

Closures/Evacuations:
Ash Canyon, Hunter Canyon, Stump Canyon (both upper and lower), Turkey Track, will remain closed until further notice.
Highway 92 closed at Hereford Road, south to Coronado Memorial Road throughout the night.
All locations on the west side of Highway 92 from Miller Canyon south to Ash Canyon will remain closed until further notice.
Hereford Road is closed until midnight between Moson Road east to Palominas Road.

Mandatory evacuation:
As of 8:30 tonight, all evacuation areas on the east side of Highway 92 will be re-opened to allow residents to return home and make more thorough preparations to evacuate as needed. All evacuated areas from today will be placed on pre-evacuation notice again first thing in the morning (June 17, 2011). This is from Ramsey Road and Highway 92 east to Moson Road, and south to Highway 92. We are anticipating that the above listed area will be in the mandatory evacuation zone for tomorrow no later than 10:00 a.m. and will most likely include additional areas northeast of Ramsey Road. Please be prepared to leave at a moment's notice, as that may be all the time you have.

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3 years ago

More people get ready to leave as Monument fire approaches

Pre-evacuation orders for people throughout the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains. In Carr Canyon, Cochise County Sheriff deputies gave residents pre-evacuation orders Thursday morning.

Hank Brodkin has lived in his home since 1998 and started packing up his belongings, "We're leaving a lot of stuff here. I have books upstairs but those are things I can't possibly take."

Brodkin has a defensible space around his property but worries about his four acres of land, "We've actually been expecting this because it hasn't rained and it's so tinder dry."

Up the road, neighbor Susan Crockett lives in a concrete home and is packing everything from a respirator to vitamins even artwork. Outside their home, her husband Rocky secures the attic vents to prevent any embers from getting inside the home.

Crockett said, "I want to stay of course I want to stay in my house. It's traumatic but we're going to make that decision when we see flames coming over the hill."

Next door to the Crockett's home Ronnie Amador is driving a tractor creating a defensible space at his friends home, "It's good to know you have friends in these situations. Friends, family help you get through the tough times."

Further up the road, a woman named Patty has friends and family helping her pack up everything they can and as quickly as possible, "It's been a serious drought for a long time it's just kindling, I'm just asking the public to start praying for rain we need rain here."

3 years ago

Hundreds of people still out of homes near Monument Fire

SIERRA VISTA -With hundreds of homes being evacuated near the Monument fire in Sierra Vista the American Red Cross has set up one evacuation center while helping out with another.


But so far very few people are taking advantage of the services. "We're not busy today, but we anticipate tomorrow will be a busy day for us." Said Richard White of the Red Cross.

Ted and Melanie Mouras returned to their home in Ash Canyon Wednesday afternoon to retrieve some medication Ted left behind. He was happy to see his home had survived the inferno. Sitting on his front porch was a feral cat who had also survived. "It's dehydrated, but it survived." Said Mouras.


Mouras feels fortunate that his home appears to be untouched by the fire although he believes a huge heat wave rocked his house. "A wave of heat shook pictures loose from the wall, we have a couple of broken windows but nothing burned and no smoke damage." Mouras said.


Ted says he and his wife Melanie watched the flames burn closer and closer to their home in Ash Canyon until the fire jumped a containment line that was protecting their property. "Once that breached we had less than a half hour to get out of there. All of a sudden we saw our neighbors house go up in flames and we were heading out the door." Out one door and into another. Ted and Melanie are now staying at Casa de San Pedro, a Bed and Breakfast owned by Karl Schmitt and his partner. "Any rooms we have available we're happy to donate to these people." Said Schmitt.


Eight of ten guest rooms at Casa de San Pedro are now occupied by evacuees and their pets, which are not normally allowed. Schmitt says in a case like this cats and dogs are more than welcome at Casa de San Pedro. "That's their family."


Eight families forced from their homes by a raging inferno are now enjoying a warm bed, hot meals, and a special feeling thanks to two men who cared enough to throughout a welcome mat. It's costing Schmitt and his partner a lot of money to help these neighbors in need, but when disaster strikes money doesn't matter. "That's not what this is about. This is your friends, family, community." Said Schmitt.

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3 years ago

Sheriff Dever: Ash Canyon residents could be home in 24 hours

SIERRA VISTA - It was a packed house at the Monument fire update in Sierra Vista. Sheriff Dever told Ash Canyon residents they may be able to go home within the next 24 hours. Dever also added that when mandatory evacuations are ordered, people should leave right away.

The Fire Operations Chief told the crowd they are gearing up for a fierce day tomorrow. Winds are expected to be 40 miles per hour. He said they are formulating a long term plan to fight this fire.

Kim Hall with the Coronado National Memorial says the entire memorial area has been burned. But she says the area will grow back after the flames are gone.

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3 years ago

Latest video and info on the Arizona wildfires

TUCSON - Check out the video above for the latest views from the Wallow Fire, as well as video from the Murphy Complex Fire and the Horseshoe 2 Fire.

The Wallow Fire is roughly 5 percent contained at this time, and has burned nearly 640 square miles of vegetation. Thirty-one homes have been confirmed destroyed by the blaze, and thousands of evacuees remain away from their homes.

The Murphy Fire burning near Tubac merged with the Pajarita Fire earlier this week, and has now crossed into Mexico. It's burned more than 68,000 acres, including over 2,000 south of the border.

The Horseshoe 2 Fire has burned more than 128,000 acres in the Chiricahua Mountains. Firefighters battling in steep, rocky conditions have managed to contain about 40 percent of this fire, but winds are expected to pick up again tomorrow, posing a challenge to crews fighting all three wildfires.

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3 years ago

Wildfires lead to closures of some state highways

PHOENIX (AP) - More than 200 miles of state highways are closed in Arizona due to several major wildfires. The Arizona Department of Transportation said Thursday that nearly 20 miles of U.S. 60 has been closed from Springerville to the New Mexico state line due to the Wallow fire. The closure stretches from milepost 384 to 401.

ADOT says State Route 260 is closed in both directions east of the Hawley Lake turnoff and Eagar.

State Route 373, a 4.5 mile-long highway that connects the town of Greer in eastern Arizona with SR 260 west of Eagar, is closed.

U.S. 191 is closed between Alpine and north of Clifton.

ADOT has closed State Routes 261 and 273 to Big Lake and Crescent Lake in the White Mountains.

And U.S. 180 is closed between the SR 260 junction near Eagar and the New Mexico state line.

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3 years ago

Pima County closing many trails and other areas

TUCSON - Coinciding with the closure of Coronado National Forest lands, Pima County will be closing many trails and trailheads tomorrow at noon due to the extreme fire danger currently in the state of Arizona.

In addition to these closures, the county is restricting smoking in Agua Caliente Park, and may restrict smoking and open-flame activities in other parks around Pima County. The public is urged to use extreme caution with any flammable materials in any park.

The temporary closures apply to the following county trails and trailheads:

Iris Dewhirst Pima Canyon
Linda Vista
Campbell Avenue
Richard McKee Finger Rock
Ventana Canyon
Bear Canyon
Avenida de Suzenu
Agua Caliente Hill
Cienega Creek Nature Preserve
Empirita Ranch
Colossal Cave Road
Colossal Cave Mountain Park Arizona Trail Access
Davidson Canyon Cienega Creek
Catalina Regional Park

Areas and trails that remain open at this time include:

Tucson Mountain Park
Sweetwater Preserve Trails Park
Anza Trail Canoa Ranch
Feliz Paseos Park
River Park Systems - Rillito and Santa Cruz

For the latest information on closures and important fire-related information from Pima County, visit:

www.pima.gov/nrpr

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3 years ago

Webcams offer live views of the Arizona wildfires

TUCSON - In addition to touring the Arizona Wildfires from above using Google Earth, you can get a live, candid view of the Wallow fire from several web cams stationed nearby.

Click here for a view from Round Valley High School in Greer, Arizona. As of press time, a thick haze of smoke was visible.

This view from the Molly Butler Lodge in Greer shows a thick plume of smoke rising from the nearby Wallow Fire.

Explore the site and the state with the numerous webcams. Most webcams also offer a time-lapse video of the previous 24 hours, allowing you to see the development of the conditions in the effected communities.

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3 years ago

More evacuations ordered around Wallow Fire

SPRINGERVILLE - More evacuations have been ordered for residents near the Wallow fire in northeastern Arizona.

The Apache County Sheriff's Office has ordered the immediate evacuation for the following areas:

WEST of Main St. in Eagar and Springerville, including areas north of Highway 260 and south of Highway 60, including the airport.

The phone lines in the incident command call center are currently down. For the latest information, call one of the following numbers:

702.308.3238

702.308.3357

702.308.8227

The community meeting scheduled for this evening has been cancelled.

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3 years ago

Coronado National Memorial closure information

TUCSON - Beginning tomorrow at noon, Coronado National Memorial will close along with the rest of Coronado National Park due to the extreme fire danger around the state.

All trails, picnic areas and ground within Coronado National Memorial will be closed, and stopping along the main park road will not be allowed, according to a release from the National Parks Service.

Certain areas will remain open, including the park visitor center and parking lot, and immediate grounds surrounding the visitor center. Paved portions of the Montezuma Pass parking lot, and restroom facilities will remain open.

Through traffic will be allowed on the main park road, but no stopping or parking will be allowed on the road or any of its pullouts.

This closure applies to members of the visiting public - employees, official government contractors and private residents who live in the park are exempted.

Image courtesy NPS.gov

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3 years ago

Model the Arizona Wildfires in 3D with Google Earth

TUCSON - You can get a clear picture of the latest growth of the three major wildfires burning around the state thanks to Google Earth and InciWeb - a website dedicated to providing the latest information on wildfires around the country.

These shots were taken using Google Earth, available for free here, and fire monitoring data sent from stations around the state to InciWeb and the USDA Forest Service active fire maps page. You can model each wildfire on a 3D representation of Arizona, complete with information, and detailed graphical depictions of the spread of each fire.

The dots are color-coded - yellow indicates activity that is 6 days or older, orange dots are fires detected in the last 12 to 24 hours, bright red is even more recent - the last 6 to 12 hours, and dark red indicates the most recently detected fire spots. The red line shows the latest known perimeter of each fire.

Explore the website for a wealth of data, and stay tuned to News 4 Tucson for the latest on each fire as officials provide the latest updates.

3 years ago

Forest Service implements restrictions on Kaibab

WILLIAMS, Ariz. (AP) - Fire restrictions are in effect on the Williams and Tusayan ranger districts of the Kaibab National Forest due to high fire danger.

The Forest Service says the restrictions are aimed at preventing human-caused wildfires. All campfires are prohibited in the Kaibab National Forest.

Charcoal, coal or wood stoves are allowed in developed campgrounds only. The restrictions also limit smoking within enclosed vehicles, buildings or in developed campgrounds.

The fire restrictions remain in place until the forest receives significant precipitation.

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3 years ago

Smoke from Arizona fires posing serious health risk for some

TUCSON - The Arizona wildfires are filling the skies with smoke, posing a serious health risk for some in Arizona and across state lines. Smoke and haze are spreading to surrounding states and can be seen as far as New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.

Some are noticing it is a lot tougher to breathe, but for others, the symptoms can be much worse.

"I came out of the house today to go over to church and I saw this foggy thing and I went like this to make sure it wasn't my glasses," Pat Meurant said.

"I have allergies a little bit and yes, it is bothering me a little bit," Roger Rand said.

For the average person, the smoke may just be a nuisance. Heavy air coming all the way from the Murphy, Horseshoe 2 and Wallow Fires is causing itchy eyes, congestion and that smoky smell.

"You just know it's not good to inhale the smoke, or for the children. When you can see it in the air it's obviously not a good thing," Amanda Saffer said.

"It's effecting my chest somewhat, I have a deep cough that's coming up," Cecily Surace said.

Pulmonologist Dr. Francisco Pacheco says his office is seeing more and more patients with inflammatory issues.

"I've been in Arizona for four years now and I've never seen such a thing since I've been here," Pacheco said.

Pacheco says people with conditions like asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis could find themselves in trouble this summer.

"People with chronic pulmonary diseases are at increased risk of developing serious potential complications that may require visits to the emergency room due to bronchospasm or even respiratory failure," Pacheco said.

Pacheco recommends those patients stay indoors as much as possible, with air conditioners and filters running.

He also says the following symptoms are reasons to visit the doctor: "Increasing cough, chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath," Pacheco said.

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