Gladiator Fire: Crown King residents allowed home

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

CROWN KING, Ariz. -- After almost two weeks, Crown King residents who have been nervously tracking the Gladiator Fire are being allowed to return to their homes.

Full-time residents were able to go home at 8 a.m. Full-time residents of Pine Flat and Turkey Creek will be allowed to return home starting at 6 p.m.

Part-time residents and other property owners in all three towns were going to be allowed back into the area covered by the mandatory evacuation order Saturday morning.

On Monday, May 28, once everyone is settled back in, the entire area will be open to the public.

In order to get back into the affected areas, residents and business owners will have to get a re-entry pass from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. Those passes will be available at the Mayer substation of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at 13272 Central Avenue. If you live in Crown King, Pine Flat or Turkey Creek, you'll need to provide proof of residency to get your re-entry pass.

If you have any questions about the re-entry process, call YCSO at 928-771-3260

Fewer crews on the fire lines

The Gladiator Fire, which started as a house fire on Sunday, May 13, has burned 16,240 acres in the Prescott National Forest. At this point, it is 35 percent contained.

As containment grows and fire activity lessens, resources are being released from their assignments. Fire managers released 156 crew members Friday. More are slated to be released in the coming days. At this point, 990 personnel are assigned to the Gladiator Fire.

Despite the red-flag conditions of the past couple of days, containment lines have held up.

Since the Gladiator Fire started, nearly constant high heat, low humidity and gusty winds have spawned erratic fire behavior. While the winds often pushed the fire north, away from Crown King, fire managers remained concerned about the town, fearing that the flames would make a run at it.

At last check, the fire had destroyed six structures, leaving the bulk of Crown King's homes untouched.

In addition to the weather, the steep, rugged terrain made things difficult and dangerous for firefighters.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday declared an emergency in response to the Gladiator Fire, freeing up money from the Governor's Emergency Fund support the response and recovery expenses.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the date the public will be allowed back into the Crown King area.