Jun 15, 2011 9:20 AM
HEREFORD, AZ - The Monument Fire continues to burn south of Sierra Vista, as hundreds of residents are under mandatory evacuation orders. At last count, 5,200 acres have burned and the fire is 10 percent contained.
The list of areas where evacuations have been ordered are: Ash Canyon, Hunter Canyon, Stump Canyon, Lower Stump Canyon, and Turkey Track. Everyone on both the East and West of Highway 92 between Coronado and Three Canyons cannot return home until further notice.
The Cochise County Sheriff's Department estimates approximately 650 homes have been evacuated.
Sheriff's deputies and fire units are still assessing damage to structures. Deputies tell News4 the fire has either partially or entirely destroyed 24 homes.
Highway 92 is closed from Hereford to Coronado Memorial Road.
Those who have not yet been evacuated are asked to remove the brush 30 to 50 feet from around their homes, and those living on a slope should push the brush even farther back.
For those already evacuated, many are wondering, "what's next?"
Hundreds attended a Fire Information Meeting Tuesday night at the Windemere Hotel in Sierra Vista.
"I'm just in awe, and I'm in shock and in denial," said Ash Canyon resident Dana Springer at the meeting.
"Black clouds, and you could see orange spots and it's just going crazy," said evacuated resident Norman Beck.
Residents watched in terror Tuesday afternoon. In a matter of hours, their backyards erupted in flames. Now many are left in limbo wondering what will be left when they go back.
"I'm just hoping by some miracle that my home is missed," Springer said.
John Herrod already knows what he will find when he returns to the top of Ash Canyon.
"I had two big tree pillars in the front of my house that everyone told me that would be the first thing that burned. The reports are that's the only thing that's standing," Herrod said.
Herrod's home was destroyed by the flames.
"I was right there. Probably about 2 to 3 minutes after I left is when it blew up," Herrod said.
Herrod says he is unsure if his family will rebuild in Ash Canyon.
"It's just a house, life goes on, but it changes things," Herrod said.
Fire information will be available at Valley View Elementary School from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (520) 432-9500 for evacuation information.
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