Doce Fire now 70-percent containedPosted: Updated:
Word came Monday night that the 6,767-acre Doce Fire was 70-percent contained. Full containment is expected on Wednesday.
The Red Cross closed its evacuation center at noon Monday, a day after residents were allowed to return to their homes.
The center at Yavapai College was a place for fire evacuees to get water, coffee, snacks and information from the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter.
Residents returning to their homes are urged to use caution and watch out for possible flare-ups.
"Relief," said John Mazella as he described his state of mind. "Yeah, relief - just a sigh of relief."
John and his wife, Angie, returned to their home in the Mint Creek Ranch subdivision Saturday night.
They'd packed up and left Tuesday before the Doce Fire forced the evacuation of 465 homes.
"It came over the mountain so fast, and the wind was blowing in our direction, and we decided we were going to get out," said Angie Mazella.
Like many evacuees, the Mazellas stayed with friends who graciously opened up their homes.
"We had so many things to move, and there was still a bit of smoke in the house," said Bill Anton, who spent five days staying with friends.
Anton and his family waited until Sunday to return to their Sundown Acres home.
But he said he won't bring back his packed-up belongings or livestock until the fire is out.
"One thing you don't want is to be evacuated twice," said Anton, who added how grateful he and the rest of the community is to the firefighters who worked to save their homes.
There are some exceptions to the lifted evacuations - residents like Audrey Nissen, whose permitted cabin in the Granite Basin Summer Homes area of the Prescott National Forest will have to wait longer.
"The main thing is – as long as everything is safe," she said. "And, hopefully, the flooding when the monsoons come won't affect us. I'm okay with it at this point."
Residents who live in areas that were evacuated and close to charred land are encouraged to buy flood insurance.
They have 30 days from the start of the fire to do that.
The Prescott National Forest emergency fire closure and Stage Two fire restrictions remain in place.
Granite Basin Road remains closed to the public and can only be accessed by residents with valid identification and proof of residency.
The entire area of the Doce Fire is closed to public access, including the Doce Pit Road off Iron Springs Road.
Firefighters and apparatus will continue to be in the area. A total of 650 personnel have been fighting the fire, which includes 16 hand crews, 22 engines, five water tenders, two bulldozers and four helicopters.
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