Shipman Fire 5 percent contained; power restored in Kearny

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

KEARNY, Ariz. -- The Shipman Fire burning near Kearny, Ariz., is 5 percent contained and evacuations have been lifted for residents of about 100 homes, however, the town lost electricity shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities said the power had been restored as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Mobile phone services were disrupted by the fire. Pinal County emergency personnel have made contact with Verizon and anticipate full or partial service could be restored later Tuesday evening.

The lightning-caused wildfire began around 5 p.m. Monday. It has charred an estimated 300 acres of dense vegetation in a dry riverbed and burned one house.

The number of firefighters battling the fire has doubled to about 200 as crews work to dig containment lines.
Firefighters are using a bulldozer and other equipment to protect homes and the town's airstrip.

"I want to commend all the first responders who are on scene here," said Kearny resident Sen. Barbara McGuire in a news release. "Fire crews from Kearny, Hayden, Winkelman, Dudleyville, Globe, Superior, the state forest crews, county Sheriff's office and the Red Cross are here working hard.  Helicopters are also on scene dropping water on the advancing fire. It is very unnerving because the fire is so near my home but I am putting my faith in knowing that these crews are doing all they can."

Pinal County Public Health officials recommend that people who have respiratory difficulty, asthma or other lung conditions remain indoors and take every effort possible to avoid the smoke. People with swamp coolers should limit their use to avoid bringing smoky air into their homes or businesses.  

State Route 177 going through Kearny reopened Tuesday morning. Law enforcement escorts will help drivers safely pass through the fire area. However, people are encouraged to take an alternate route or avoid travel to or through Kearny for the time being.

Ray Elementary has been established as an emergency shelter. The school is located at 701 North Highway 177 in Kearny. The American Red Cross is on hand providing food, shelter and support resources to anyone displaced by the fire.

Kearny is located 73 miles southeast of Phoenix.