PRESCOTT, Ariz. — A wind-whipped brush fire broke out Tuesday afternoon
near Prescott, sending several agencies rushing to fend off the blaze at a time
when dry conditions have Arizona on high alert.
Authorities said the fire was at an estimated 500 acres by nightfall but was
boxed in as crews tried to fully contain it.
Prescott Fire Department spokesman Wade Ward said there were still some active
flames on the fire’s northeast side and crews planned to work overnight to keep
the blaze from flaring up.
Authorities said the fire likely was human-caused because no lightning struck
the area Tuesday and there were no immediate reports of any electrical lines
The fire started in grasslands north of the Prescott airport along Highway 89
and quickly spread to about 100 acres before crews arrived around 4 p.m.
Ward said the area had wind gusts of up to 40 mph with sustained winds of 25
mph and the fire was being fought by crews on the ground.
No residents or structures were threatened, so no evacuations were needed, said
Yavapai County sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn.
The fire came less than a year after Prescott lost 19 members of a hotshot crew
during a wildfire. It was the worst loss of life for firefighters in the U.S.
since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
A Prescott hotshot crew was among the many firefighters battling Tuesday’s
fire, including crews from Chino Valley, the Central Yavapai Fire District and
the U.S. Forest Service.
Arizona officials are worried about a devastating 2014 wildfire season amid a
drought that has left the state with dangerously dry conditions.
Prescott enacted fire restrictions last month that ban people from smoking
outside of their vehicles in nonresidential areas. Campfires are also banned
outside developed campgrounds, among other restrictions.