Area near Sierra Vista evacuated for burnouts

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SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. -- The Cochise County Sheriff's Office has ordered a mandatory evacuation of an area south of Sierra Vista due to planned controlled burns as crews continue to fight the Monument Fire.

The evacuation order was effective at 6 p.m. Tuesday and covers the area from Ramsey Canyon Road to Kachina Trail and Fort Huachuca to Highway 92. The evacuation will be in effect for 48 hours.

The area south of Ramsey Canyon Road to the west of State Route 92 is already under mandatory evacuation.

The evacuation is being taken as a precaution for the continuation of burning operations south across Ramsey Canyon and around a number of homes, according to the sheriff's office.

Firefighters working on the key northwest flank of the Monument Fire on Tuesday night conducted burnout operations near the neighborhood's northwest end that strengthened protections lines. They plan to conduct burnout operations Wednesday near the neighborhood's southwest side.

Burnouts are management-ignited fires designed to safely remove fuel in advance of the wildfire front. Once the burnout is completed, the advancing wildfire simply runs out of fuel and stops.

The burnout operation will remove fuel between the fire and neighborhoods as well as greatly reduce the chance of the Monument Fire spreading to the east if it should come out of Carr Canyon.

Flames and smoke may be visible, but the sheriff's office said firefighters are controlling the burn under favorable conditions for success. 

The wildfire started June 12 and has burned more than 28,000 acres and nearly 60 homes near Sierra Vista. As of Tuesday afternoon, it is 59 percent contained.

More than 1,000 fire personnel are on the scene of the human-caused fire.

Those traveling along Highway 92 should be aware of the increased fire traffic and possible closures.

Evacuation areas:

•    East of State Route 92 continues to be open to residents. Neighborhoods north of State Route 92 by the Coronado Memorial are also open to residents. State Route 92 from Ramsey Road to the Coronado Memorial Road remains closed for use by emergency personnel only, but residents can use alternate access routes to their homes in these neighborhoods. 

•    The Ash Canyon Area west of SR92 is open to residents only, but requires a re-entry permit to be obtained by the Sheriff's Office at the Palominas Fire Station in Miracle Valley.

•    Miller Canyon, Vista Grande, and Dead Bear Draw on the west of SR92 is open to residents, but no access to those areas via SR92.

•    Nicksville is open to residents only, but requires an escort by the sheriff's office. Residents can request an escort by calling 520-432-9500.

See a map of the evacuation area.

Road closures:

Hwy 92 / Monument Pass – Permit Access Checkpoint 

Ramsey / 92 – 92 South of Ramsey Closed 

Three Canyons / 92 – 92 North of Three Canyons Closed 

Kachina-Glenn / 92 – West of 92 Hard Closure  Choctaw / 92 – West of 92 Hard 

Camino Principal / 92 – West of 92 Hard Closure Pawnee / 92 – West of 92 Hard Closure

Mandan / 92 – West of 92 Hard Closure

Shawnee / 92 – West of 92 Hard Closure 

The Evacuation Center is being consolidated to Buena High School. Evacuees from Apache Middle School will be transitioned to the high school.

For up-to-date evacuation information, call 1-800-288-3861.