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Sonoita Fire in need of volunteers - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Sonoita Fire in need of volunteers

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SONOITA-ELGIN,Ariz. -

 One year after the Sawmill fire burned through more than 40,000 acres near Sonoita the area is still facing increased fire risks. That's why firefighters are looking for volunteers and local wineries are working to protect their crops.

"We have firebreak all the way around and we have tractors to dig up anymore grass and being in the wine industry we have a lot of pumps to move liquid very fast," Kief Manning said.

Kief Manning, owner of Kief-Joshua Vineyard in Sonoita, worried that his vineyard would catch fire last year as the Sawmill fire was blazing just a quarter of a mile away from his property. Now he's preparing in case of another fire and local firefighters are making sure the rest of the community is as well.

"We're going out to people's homes and mitigating fuels around peoples homes. We've worked at 161 acres so far this year and we've protected about 135 homes," Joseph DeWolf Sonoita-Elgin Fire Chief said.

Sonoita Fire is looking for more volunteers this summer since the risk for a fire is high. 

"We run a lot off of volunteers. Our community depends on it. We only have two career professionals on staff daily," DeWolf said.

Locals are hoping for some monsoon rain to mitigate the dry, harsh conditions. So the volunteer crews won't have any fires to put out. 

"We definitely like the rain. So we don't have to be pumping the wells and don't have to worry about the fires," Manning said.

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