Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fire Season is Here

In Flagstaff wildfires are an annual threat, and this year we've got one very much 'in town'. While it appears that the Hardy fire is now contained, it was pretty scary for a lot of locals, and it's very smoky around town today.

A wildfire south of Interstate 40 in Flagstaff Saturday that grew to between 500 and 600 acres forced the evacuation of 170 homes and temporarily closed Little America Hotel.

No structures were damaged or destroyed, and no injuries were reported.

About 150 personnel, including all on- and off-duty Flagstaff firefighters, responded to the blaze, dubbed the Hardy fire. Crews from Summit, Highlands and the U.S. Forest Service also responded.

Two air tankers and three heavy-duty helicopters made repeated slurry and water drops on the fire, which spread northeast from the ignition point through the ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper forest as wind gusts reached 35 mph.

A total of 11 people evacuated from the Sinagua Heights and Herold Ranch neighborhoods were expected to spend the night at Mount Elden Middle School, where the Red Cross was operating an emergency overnight shelter.

The Coconino Humane Association south of Butler Avenue was evacuated and about 60 animals were taken to the Second Chance Center for Animals in Doney Park, where they remained overnight.

Residents of Foxglenn, Continental and Amberwood received emergency telephone notification to be on standby for evacuation, but those neighborhoods were not evacuated by the time winds died down Saturday night.

The local NPR station is reporting that the size of the fire has been downgraded to about 400 acres, and that most of the evacuated will be allowed to return home today.
I want to give a big shout out to our local firefighters (I know quite a few of them), who are the best in the business. Great job, and all of Flagstaff thanks you!

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