Photos: Wildfire destroys homes, forces evacuations

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by Mike Gertzman

azfamily.com

Posted on May 13, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Updated Monday, May 14 at 11:33 AM

Map: Gladiator Fire

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CROWN KING, Ariz. -- The newest wildfire is the Gladiator Fire near Crown King, north of the Valley and north of Black Canyon city. It's in Yavapai County.

At least two structures have burned. Some residents are being ordered to evacuate.

State Forest Division spokesman Cliff Pearlberg said the Gladiator Fire was burning Sunday afternoon on about 300 acres in the Bradshaw Mountains, four miles north of Crown King. The town has about 350 residents.

The fire started on Sunday morning. It got its name because it's near Gladiator Mine Road.

According to Dwight D'evelyn with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, At approximately 11 a.m. on Sunday, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the Crown King community regarding a wildfire report.

Members of the Crown King Fire Department arrived to find two fully engulfed structures and the fire spreading into the adjacent forest.

John Shill and his wife Christine were at their cabin in Crown King when they were forced out by the flames.

John was told that a house fire started the wildfire.

"From what they heard it was like an electrical fire or something inside their cabin by itself and then they got it contained but then it just blew up," explained John.

Firefighters are attacking the flames from the ground as air tankers dump retardant from above.

D'evelyn said the fire has overtaken a portion of the Crown King Road making the road inaccessible. Deputies are directing residents via alternative outlets leading directly to the Mayer area on Hwy 69.

Sandy Baker lives in Crown King. She told 3TV she is preparing to evacuate.

"It's huge. It was this morning just one little spot and I believe there's at least three houses that have burned already and it's all over the mountain and it's jumped the road and they had to close the main road in and out of town, Said Baker."

"It's within a half of mile of another house. I can see from my window," Baker stated.

Baker said there are 420 cabins in Crown King.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter for evacuees. It's at the Mayer High School in Mayer, Ariz. 

Smoke from the Gladiator Fire was visible from parts of the Valley.


WEATHER CONDITIONS

Drought conditions in Arizona continue with precipitation this year being approximately 40% of normal.  Fuels in the vicinity of these fires are currently as dry as would typically be expected in mid-June.

 

 

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