|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Wednesday, 23 June 2010 08:00|
Firefighters and equipment from the Verde Valley continued to help battle a 12,000-acre wildfire north of Flagstaff on Tuesday, June 22, according to Verde Valley Fire District officials.
Firefighters and equipment from VVFD were first called in to fight the Hardy Fire, which broke out Saturday, June 19, and burned roughly 300 acres, VVFD Assistant Fire Chief Mike Flummer said.
The fire was about 30 percent contained as of Tuesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
On Sunday, June 20, two of the VVFD firefighters and a large pumper engine were transferred to the Schultz Fire, which flared Sunday morning and eventually spread to nearly 12,000 acres as of Tuesday due to high winds, Flummer said.
A VVFD water tender truck and crew were recalled, he said.
The Schultz Fire may have been sparked by a lost hiker who started a signal fire, Flummer said.
“This just shows how high the fire danger is,” he said. “Tell people to please be careful with open fires right now.”
The Schultz Fire started shortly after 11 a.m. and is located west of State Route 89, east of Flagstaff, and north of Mount Elden, according to the USFS.
Cottonwood immediately sent out six firefighters and two engines to fight the Schultz Fire in response to a call from Arizona State Forestry Division officials June 20, Cottonwood Fire Department Chief Mike Casson said.
“It was initial attack call,” Casson said. “That means they needed our help right now.”
Although one of the CFD engines was recalled Monday, June 21, two CFD firefighters and a pumper remained on scene as of Tuesday, Casson said.
VVFD sent two firefighters with special training to relieve its remaining crew Monday, June 21, Flummer said.
Casson said sending CFD firefighters to help fight the blaze does not compromise Cottonwood’s fire protection coverage.
“We’re not leaving the community unattended,” Casson said. “We’re shifting resources to help where the need is right now and we’re in a position to cover here. We are fully staffed.”
After two units were recalled Monday, CFD and VVFD each had one engine and two firefighters helping battle the blaze as of press time. Both crews are stationed near fire lines in residential neighborhoods and were assigned to protect structures.
No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported as of press time, according to the USFS.
Federal officials took jurisdiction of the fire June 21, which means local firefighters on scene were required to be specially certified to fight wildfires, or “red-carded,” Casson and Flummer said.
Once it exercised jurisdiction over the fire, USFS became obligated to pay the cost of firefighters sent by CFD and VVFD, Casson and Flummer said.
“Significant fire potential is predicted today for southeast Arizona and western New Mexico due to possible dry lightning. Dry, breezy winds are expected over the Four Corner States,” USFS announced Tuesday.
Both the Coconino and Prescott national forests are expected to issue rules banning campfires Wednesday, June 23, USFS announced Monday. For the latest information on fire restrictions, call (928) 777-5799.
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