Yavapai Gaming - August 2014

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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 19, 2014


6/18/2013 12:20:00 PM
Fast-moving wildfire churns over Granite Mountain, threatens Williamson Valley homes near Prescott
A Forest Service tanker drops retardant at the American Ranch subdividion in Williamson Valley
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
A Forest Service tanker drops retardant at the American Ranch subdividion in Williamson Valley
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
A slurry bomber makes a run at the Doce Fire.
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
A slurry bomber makes a run at the Doce Fire.
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier

Joanna Dodder Nellans
Special to the Tribune


PRESCOTT - A wind-whipped wildfire near Prescott grew to more than 5,000 acres in just seven hours Tuesday, blowing over rugged Granite Mountain to within 400 yards of homes in Williamson Valley before sunset.

Mandatory evacuations were taking place for hundreds of people in the American Ranch, Sundown Acres and Mint Creek subdivisions and surrounding areas near Granite Mountain as the Forest Service conducted a media briefing at 6 p.m.

The fire was at zero containment at dusk.

"Anybody adjacent to the Granite Mountain Wilderness in the Williamson Valley corridor area should be on high alert," said Jeff Andrews, assistant fire staff officer on the Prescott National Forest. He was unsure how many hundreds of homes were evacuated.

Residents as far north as Inscription Canyon Ranch should be preparing for possible evacuation, he said.

"It's a real natural disaster," he said. "There's a lot of chaos."

A Type I national incident management team is taking over the battle against the Doce fire Wednesday. Its commander is Tony Sciacca of Prescott, who retired from a fire management job on the Prescott Forest, so he knows the area intimately.

Sciacca's team might conduct a public meeting Wednesday. Watch for updates on dcourier.com. Information for the public also is available on the county's Emergency Management Division website at regionalinfo-alert.org.

Firefighters will be facing red-flag conditions all day Wednesday because of high winds and low humidity.

"Without a doubt, it's going to be a pretty difficult day tomorrow with the wind," Andrews said Tuesday.

The fire team is asking everyone in the Prescott region to restrict cell phone use in an effort to free up circuits for emergency managers and firefighters.

The human-caused fire ignited about 11:30 a.m. near Doce Pit on the Prescott National Forest just west of Prescott, a popular target shooting area. The cause is under investigation, Andrews said. As of Wednesday, all target shooting and open fires are illegal throughout Yavapai County because of increased fire-use restrictions.

Early afternoon mandatory evacuations took place in Granite Basin for approximately 30-40 homes on private inholdings and Forest Service leases in the Granite Basin Recreation Area, homes next to the Alto Pit OHV Area, and Camp Anytown off Granite Basin Road, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

Before dark the fire pushed northeast over the top of Granite Mountain and back down the east side of the mountain into Williamson Valley.

"That fire came down that hill so fast... I never would have imagined it," said a Sundown Acres resident named Kathy, who wanted to keep her last name private because she's worried about looters. Some firefighters also were surprised at how fast the flames pushed down the rugged, boulder-strewn Granite Mountain.

Kathy was watching the fire from Chino Valley's Safeway grocery lot, where ash was raining down. Her husband saw a heavy air tanker drop retardant on their neighbor's house around 7 p.m. Tuesday.

She and her husband left their home with their dogs and whatever else they could grab.

"Shock, just total shock," Kathy said. "You're wondering what you left behind that you should have taken."

More than 30 people checked into the Red Cross shelter at Yavapai College along East Sheldon Street in Prescott by 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Red Cross reported.

About 300 firefighters on the ground were getting assistance from several air tankers and helicopters Tuesday. Local fire departments from throughout the region were helping federal agencies.

The fire has the same name as the 850-acre Doce fire that ignited in the same vicinity on June 14, 1990. It's been that long since much of the thick chaparral on Granite Mountain burned, Andrews said.

The Rodeo-Chediski fire ignited on June 18, 2002.

(Some local people also know the Doce Pit as the Dosie Pit, but the Forest Service named the fire the Doce.)

UPDATE 7:08 p.m.

Mint Creek area added to mandatory evacuations in American Ranch and Sundown Acres


Residents in the area of the Mint Creek subdivision have been ordered to evacuate. Outer Loop Road from Chino Valley is closed before Williamson Valley Road. All non-vital traffic is prohibited from entering the fire area.

UPDATE 6:27 p.m.

Authorities have ordered the mandatory evacuation of two Williamson Valley subdivisions, American Ranch and Sundown Acres.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.

Authorities are now notifying people in Williamson Valley near the northwest side of Granite Mountain that they might need to evacuate in the face of the Doce wildfire.

Reverse 9-1-1 calls are going out to the Williamson Valley neighborhoods, Prescott National Forest spokesperson Noel Fletcher said at 5:30 p.m.

The fire already has grown to about 2,000 acres in the six hours since it ignited at 11:30 a.m.

The cause is unknown but likely ignited by people since no lightning hit the area in recent days and the Forest Service hasn't received any reports of fallen power lines.

The Doce fire ignited near the Doce Pit (otherwise known as the Dosie Pit) on the Prescott National Forest just west of Prescott, a popular area for target shooting. As of Wednesday, target shooting is illegal because of increased fire restrictions.

Low humidity and winds gusting to about 25 mph have been pushing the blaze to the northeast over Granite Mountain and Little Granite Mountain, in rocky boulders and chaparral.

Conditions are not going to improve for firefighters Wednesday since a red flag warning will be in effect from noon to 7 p.m. because of high winds and low humidity. Gusts could reach 35 mph in the Prescott area.

Approximately 250 firefighters are on the ground.

Residents who need to evacuate their horses may take them to the Prescott Rodeo Grounds or to the stables near the RV park at Yavapai Downs outside Prescott Valley on Highway 89A.

Mandatory evacuations have already taken place for approximately 30-40 homes on private inholdings and Forest Service leases in the Granite Basin Recreation Area, homes next to the Alto Pit OHV Area, and Camp Anytown off Granite Basin Road, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

They all are located about a mile east of Granite Mountain and Little Granite Mountain.

The Sheriff's Office also conducted Reverse 9-1-1 calls early Tuesday afternoon to residents of the Wildwood Estates and Highland Pines subdivisions to alert them that they might need to evacuate, D'Evelyn said. They each have about 250 to 300 homes.

Red Cross has set up a shelter at Yavapai College along East Sheldon Street where evacuees can get beds, food, snacks and water.

Iron Springs Road is closed on the southwest at Kirkland Junction and on the east at Williamson Valley Road, D'Evelyn said.

The region is under a red-flag warning Wednesday because of high winds and low humidity. Winds in the Prescott area are gusting to 25 mph.

Air resources have been called in to help battle the fast-moving blaze.

A heavy air tanker and large helicopter already were stationed on call at the Prescott Fire Center, and the Forest Service also has requested two more air tankers, another helicopter, a lead plane, 10 engines and seven ground crews, Jackson said.

Local fire departments are aiding the Forest Service, too.

The fire started on the south side of Iron Springs Road and jumped the road to the north, Jackson said.

Update, 4:08 p.m.

Authorities are evacuating areas near the Granite Basin Recreation Area just west of Prescott because of the Doce wildfire that ignited about 11:30 a.m. today.

The latest estimate on the fire size is 600 acres as of 3 p.m., with active movement to the northeast onto Granite Mountain and Little Granite Mountain. Several dozen homes are located about a mile east of the rocky Granite Mountain in Granite Basin.

Approximately 250 firefighters are on the ground.

Mandatory evacuations are taking place for approximately 30-40 homes on private inholdings and Forest Service leases in the Granite Basin Recreation Area, homes next to the Alto Pit OHV Area, and Camp Anytown off Granite Basin Road, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said at 1 p.m.

The Sheriff's Office has conducted Reverse 9-1-1 calls to residents of the Wildwood Estates and Highland Pines subdivisions to alert them that they might need to evacuate soon, D'Evelyn said. They each have about 250 to 300 homes.

Red Cross has set up a shelter at Yavapai College along East Sheldon Street where evacuees can get beds, food, snacks and water.

Iron Springs Road is closed on the southwest at Kirkland Junction and on the east at Williamson Valley Road, D'Evelyn said.

The fire apparently ignited near the Doce Pit along Iron Springs Road, a popular recreational shooting area. The fire was still west of Granite Basin Road and Skyline Drive at about 12:30 p.m., Bradshaw District Ranger Linda Jackson said.

The region is under a red flag warning today because of high winds and low humidity. Winds in the Prescott area are gusting to 25 mph.

Air resources have been called in to help battle the fast-moving blaze.

A heavy air tanker and large helicopter already were stationed on call at the Prescott Fire Center, and the Forest Service also has requested two more air tankers, another helicopter, a lead plane, 10 engines and seven ground crews, Jackson said.

Local fire departments are aiding the Forest Service, too.

The fire started on the south side of Iron Springs Road and jumped the road to the north, Jackson said.

Update, 2:17 p.m.

Authorities are evacuating areas near the Granite Basin Recreation Area just west of Prescott because of the Doce wildfire that ignited about 11:30 a.m. today.

The Forest Service's latest estimate on the fire is 500 acres as of 2 p.m., with active movement to the northeast.

Mandatory evacuations are taking place for approximately 30-40 homes on private inholdings and Forest Service leases in the Granite Basin Recreation Area, homes next to the Alto Pit OHV Area, and Camp Anytown off Granite Basin Road, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said at 1 p.m.

The Sheriff's Office is conducting Reverse 9-1-1 calls to residents of the Wildwood and Highland Pines subdivisions to alert them that they might need to evacuate soon, D'Evelyn said.

All evacuees are being asked to check in at Yavapai College along East Gurley Street so the Red Cross has a record of their evacuation.

Iron Springs Road is closed on the southwest at Kirkland Junction and on the east at Williamson Valley Road, D'Evelyn said.

The fire apparently ignited near the Doce Pit along Iron Springs Road. The fire was still west of Granite Basin Road and Skyline Drive at about 12:30 p.m., Bradshaw District Ranger Linda Jackson said.

The region is under a red flag warning today because of high winds and low humidity. Winds in the Prescott area are gusting to 25 mph.

Gary Roysdon lives in the Highland Pines subdivision and said he can see the flames moving east toward Granite Mountain as he, coincidentally, works with a Prescott Area Wildland/Urban Interface contract crew to clear brush in the Highland Pines area.

"I can see pretty good flames," he said.

Air resources have been called in to help battle the fast-moving blaze.

A heavy air tanker and large helicopter already were stationed on call at the Prescott Fire Center, and the Forest Service also has requested two more air tankers, another helicopter, a lead plane, 10 engines and seven ground crews, Jackson said.

Local fire departments are aiding the Forest Service, too.

The fire started on the south side of Iron Springs Road and jumped the road to the north, Jackson said.

Update, 1:15 p.m.

Authorities are evacuating areas near the Granite Basin Recreation Area just west of Prescott because of the Doce wildfire that ignited about 11:30 a.m. today.

Mandatory evacuations are taking place for homes on private inholdings in the Granite Basin Recreation Area, homes next to Alto Pit, and Camp Anytown, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said at 1 p.m.

The Sheriff's Office is conducting Reverse 9-1-1 calls to residents of the Wildwood and Highland Pines subdivisions to alert them that they might need to evacuate in four hours, D'Evelyn said.

Iron Springs Road is closed on the southwest at Kirkland and on the east at Williamson Valley Road, D'Evelyn said.

The fire apparently ignited near the Doce Pit along Iron Springs Road. The fire was still west of Granite Basin Road at about 12:30 p.m., Bradshaw District Ranger Linda Jackson said.

Gary Roysdon lives in the Highland Pines subdivision and said he can see the flames moving east toward Granite Mountain as he, coincidentally, works with a Prescott Area Wildland/Urban Interface contract crew to clear brush in the Highland Pines area.

"I can see pretty good flames," he said.

Air resources have been called in to help battle the fast-moving blaze. It was listed at 20-plus acres at 12:30 p.m.

A heavy air tanker and large helicopter already were stationed on call at the Prescott Fire Center, and the Forest Service also has requested two more air tankers, another helicopter, a lead plane, 10 engines and seven ground crews, Jackson said.

Local fire departments are aiding the Forest Service, too.

The fire started on the south side of Iron Springs Road and jumped the road to the north, Jackson said.

Limited information was available at 12:30 p.m., but she confirmed that

"All resources are on it," she said. "I know it's a fast-moving fire."

Initial Report:

According to police and fire scanner traffic at 11:36 a.m. today a wildland fire is currently burning near mile marker 8 on Iron Springs Road in Prescott, Ariz.

Yavapai County Sheriff's scanner traffic reports law enforcement officials are closing westbound Iron Springs at Skyline Drive. Prescott Fire and Central Yavapai Fire District have just issued a general recall for all off duty and reserve firefighters to report to their duty stations. Reports indicate that the fire has jumped Iron Springs Road.

The public should avoid this area.

Related Stories:
• Doce fire now at 7,000 acres


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Yavapai Gaming - August 2014

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