Evacuation ordered for Roosevelt Lake area because of Woodbury Fire
PHOENIX – The Gila County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon issued an evacuation alert for the Roosevelt Lake area, including the community of Roosevelt, as the Woodbury Fire edged closer to inhabited property.
Residents were asked to leave the area immediately, bringing medications, pets, valuables, important documents and money.
Evacuees were asked to close all windows, window coverings and doors before leaving.
The American Red Cross Greater Phoenix Chapter opened a temporary shelter for people and small pets at Lee Kornegay School, 4735 S. Ragus Road in Miami.
The shelter will remain open 24 hours a day as long as the evacuation is in place.
Livestock can be sheltered at the Gila County Fairgrounds. If evacuation of livestock isn’t possible, owners were asked to paint phone numbers on the animals before setting them loose.
Anybody unable to evacuate should call 911 for assistance.
About 250 homes within a 12-mile radius of Roosevelt Lake were under the evacuation order.
Joshua Beck of Gila County Emergency Management told KTAR News 92.3 FM the fire was around 7 miles from the evacuation area.
“However, there is extremely low humidity and high winds. So we were in ‘Ready, Set’ as of yesterday at 5 p.m. and because of the unpredictability … of the fire with the conditions that are out there we went ahead and went with ‘Go,’ which is to go ahead and have those areas evacuated,” he said, referring to the Arizona Emergency Information Network’s Ready, Set, Go wildland fire action plan
On Wednesday evening, the “Set” alert was issued, notifying Roosevelt-area residents to consider voluntary evacuations or at least prepare for the possibility of an evacuation order.
People can sign up here for emergency notifications from Gila County.
Also Thursday, the Arizona Department of Transportation said State Route 188, which runs along the west side of Roosevelt Lake, has been closed from SR 88 at milepost 244 down to SR 288.
An existing closure on SR 88 is still in effect between milepost 213 and SR 188. That closure was longer when it began last week, starting at milepost 201.
The developments are the latest as officials deal with increased fire activity in the wake of a rainy period that produced lots of vegetation that is now dried out and highly flammable.
Earlier Thursday, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management announced pending Stage I fire restrictions for Maricopa, Gila, La Paz and Yuma counties as well as Mohave County south of the Colorado River.
Stage I fire restrictions were already in effect for the entire Tonto National Forest as the Woodbury Fire continued to spread.
The human-caused blaze, which started June 8 about 5 miles northwest of Superior, has yet to damage any structures but has been creeping closer to areas of human activity.
As of around noon Thursday, the fire had consumed about 50,000 acres and was 41% contained.
Dick Fleishman, Southwest Area Type 1 Management Team spokesman, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday morning that the fire was 9 miles away from Roosevelt Lake, having moved about 2 miles closer overnight.
“The next three days are going to really test us. The fire last night was very active in Campaign Creek until 2 to 3 in the morning,” Fleishman said.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and Nailea Leon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.