Authorities and civilian organizations organized the evacuation of almost 300 people from Yarnell, a town in north-central Arizona. The mobilization started on Wednesday in response to a raging fire. Back in 2013, a similar event in the area took the lives of 19 members of a well-trained firefighting squad. Fortunately, Yavapai County sheriff’s spokesman, Dwight D’Evelyn, told the local press that so far, the rescuers have not reported injured people nor fatal victims.
On Wednesday, Yarnell residents started to see smoke. Shortly after, most of them received a text message from the County’s management with a notification of a voluntary evacuation. The Yavapai County Sheriff was in charge of the mobilization, and the almost 300 people gathered under the roof of the Yavapai College.
The blaze ate 600 acres from the area which is about 60 miles northwest of Phoenix. A lot of buildings were caught on fire, but according to reports, no houses have been affected yet. The firefighter department answered quickly as 140 trained personnel attended the scene armed with high-end tools to deal with the problem such as air tankers and two helicopters. A spokesperson said the team was going to wait until night when temperatures are lower, and there is more humidity to finish it off. The effective coordination of law forces and local communities allowed the firefighting crew to deal with the problem without any eventuality.
For some people, this event brings back bad memories from a terrible blaze that killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. But according to the official blog, that fire in 2013 took place on the west side of Yarnell while the current fire is located on the eastern shore and the only damaged registered are three buildings from outer town.
Not all wildfires are an emergency
Authorities from Arizona discovered a fire in Bert on May 29 this year. Experts determined the fire was caused by lightning, and they say it has grown 3041 acres give it or take it. It is currently located near the junction Forest Road 144 and Highway 180 about ten miles south of Vale, rural community.
There is something called “hazardous fuel accumulation” which is an excess of specific vegetation that serves as fuel for possible wildfires. Fire Managers on the Williams Ranger of the Kaibab National Forest predicted the way in which the “Bert fire” was going to grow and allowed it to continue. The final objective is to allow the flames to consume all the Pinion-Juniper in the area and then, work on the restoration of the land including the support of new grassland. This kind of actions significantly improve the habitats for local fauna. There is 38 personnel assessing the situation, and they warn population that the smoke is going to be visible for miles.
In fact, authorities are dealing with a handful of other wildfires in the area. For example, an abandoned campfire started an event in the Blue Ridge Reservoir last Monday. Authorities say it is under control, but the area is still closed to visitors.