CROWN KING, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Residents of Crown King have been ordered to evacuate due to a nearby wildfire. The fire, called the Horse Fire, is burning 7 miles northwest of Crown King and has scorched over 9,000 acres as of Sunday. There is an additional fire burning near Wagoner with zero containment on both.

"This fire is exactly what we would’ve expected in June and July," said Cory Carlson, Fire Management for Prescott National Forest. "I've been here 20 years and I can’t remember of anything more than couple hundred acres outside of the summer months. This is a big one."

The Southwest-Area Type 1 Incident Management Team has taken over command of the Horse Fire. Additional firefighters and support equipment will be arriving in Crown King Sunday to help battle the wildfire.

Carlson said they've had trouble getting resources to the area because many other fires are burning in other states with hot temperatures too. 

"It’s hard to find resources anywhere even at the national level," Carlson said.

At 8:30 a.m. Friday, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office released the following message to impacted residents: There is a wildfire threatening your area. A mandatory evacuation has been issued for resident's located in Crown King. There is a significant danger to you, gather necessary items and go. Shelter had been set up at Mayer High School. For assistance please call 928-771-3260 or 911.

Wildfire burning near Crown King

Smoke from a wildfire burning near Crown King is seen from the north, near Cleator. 

Crown King, Minnehaha and Horsethief Cabins were ordered to evacuate but some people still haven't evacuated, Lorrie Wyatt, who owns Crown King Saloon. The town and her business are very precious to her.

"I was introduced to Crown King in the 1980s," said Wyatt. "I met my husband in the bar when we were in high school, in the saloon here, so we've always had ties to Crown King. We truly love this community, so that's the hardest part. You try not to think the worst."

"It's a special place to everyone that visits," said Christine Shill. "First time I came around the corner, I said I'll live there someday."

Shill evacuated Crown King Friday. She's hoping there's a town to go back to once the fire is out. "It's just a tinderbox out there," said Shill.

"Vey scary," said Wyatt. "For those of us that are left in town, not affiliated with the fire department or working on the actual fire, have all our belongings packed up, we're the last ones to go, kind of holding out."

Even after a mandatory evacuation, she wants to stick around to watch her business.

"Not as a defiant thing, but everything we have, if you have a business here, your home is here as well," said Wyatt.

According to YCSO, as of Friday morning, the fire is in the Wagoner area and is making its way towards Crown King while burning juniper, chaparral and timber.

The size of the Horse Fire is sending enough smoke into the air to make it visible on radar and in the Phoenix area. 


The following roads to Crown King have been shut down: Goodwin, Senator Highway at Palace Station, and County Road 59 from Cleator. Drivers have been asked to avoid the area for firefighters to travel safely. 

For more information on evacuations call 928-771-3321 or visit Yavapai County Code Red Notification.

Very Large Air Tanker ordered

Arizona State Forestry has multiple resources helping support Prescott National Forest crews. Two Very Large Air Tankers (VLATs), which are DC-10s, have been ordered to help with the air attack. One of the VLATs is based at Mesa Gateway while the other is being diverted from California. VLATs carry thousands of gallons of fire-suppressant liquid called retardant. The bright orange solution is dropped strategically in the path of the flames, slowing the fire and helping firefighters create containment lines around it. The DC-10 was critical in battling last summer's Woodbury Fire near Roosevelt.


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