Arizona in Brief: USDA set for round 2 of feral pig extermination at Havasu

The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted an extermination of feral pigs at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge in February 2017. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials, the pigs are an invasive species who pose a threat to human health and native wildlife habitats. Sharpshooters will soon return to the refuge for round 2 of the extermination. (Courtesy photo via Today's News-Herald)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted an extermination of feral pigs at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge in February 2017. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials, the pigs are an invasive species who pose a threat to human health and native wildlife habitats. Sharpshooters will soon return to the refuge for round 2 of the extermination. (Courtesy photo via Today's News-Herald)

USDA set for round 2 of feral pig extermination at Havasu

LAKE HAVASU CITY — U.S. Department of Agriculture aerial sharpshooters are returning to the Lake Havasu National Wildlife Refuge for a second attempt to exterminate feral hogs at the refuge along the Colorado River.

However, the facility’s manager told the Today’s News-Herald that it may take years before the swine are eradicated completely.

The agency began its Feral Swine Eradication Plan last February. The $25,000 operation was scheduled to last two weeks, but federal officials declared the effort a success after less than four days and about 70 confirmed kills.

But Lake Havasu National Wildlife Refuge Manager Rich Meyers said the surviving hogs may have repopulated within the past 12 months.

“Typically, hogs increase their reproduction while under stress,” Meyers said. “We’re seeing more hogs, and it’s possible that they’ve replenished their numbers.”

Feral swine are an invasive species throughout the country, the descendants of domesticated pigs that were released or escaped from captivity. Feral swine can cause extensive damage to riparian habitats while searching for food, and are known carriers of leptospirosis, salmonella and E-coli, presenting a threat to human health when they enter gardens and agricultural land, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.

Feral swine populations throughout the U.S. exceed five million, a 2015 Wildlife Society study said, and economic losses resulting from damage caused by feral swine is more than $1.5 billion per year.

“Everywhere they are on the Refuge, they’re extremely damaging to the habitat,” Meyers said. “We won’t get them all, but we can take out a lot of the sows and keep pressure on them. After a few years, we’ll systematically eradicate them from the Refuge.”

Glendale police released IDs of 2 who died in murder-suicide

GLENDALE — Police in Glendale have released the names of a man and woman who died in an apparent murder-suicide.

They say 59-year-old Ricky Bailey reportedly shot his 85-year-old mother-in-law on Friday before turning the gun on himself.

The shootings were reported to police by a woman who says she witnessed the incident and called 911.

Glendale Fire Department paramedics treated Bailey and Pearl Mary Merenyi at the scene before transporting them to a hospital, where they died from their injuries.

Police say both lived at the residence where the incident occurred.

They say the name of the female isn’t being released and the murder-suicide remains under investigation.

FAA tells Casa Grande to allow skydiving at city’s airport

CASA GRANDE — The Federal Aviation Administration has told Casa Grande that it must allow skydiving at the city’s airport.

Skydive Coastal California has been doing business as Phoenix Area Skydiving at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport.

The Casa Grande Dispatch reports that a 24-page FAA order states that the city is in violation of several federal mandates pertaining to grants that the airport has received.

The dispute dates back to 2013 when the owner of Phoenix Area Skydiving asked to establish a parachute drop zone to allow skydivers to land on the airport property.

The request was denied in July 2014 by the airport’s manager at that time over concern for the safety of the jumpers and the pilots using the airport and that the city’s insurance policy wouldn’t allow it.

Firefighter injured while battling blaze in north Phoenix

PHOENIX — Authorities say a firefighter has been injured while battling a blaze at a north Phoenix commercial building.

Phoenix Fire Department officials say the fire captain suffered a back injury and was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

They say the firefighter is expected to be discharged later Sunday.

His name hasn’t been released yet.

Fire officials say about 40 firefighters put out the blaze that broke out about 2 a.m. Sunday at a building that contained used restaurant equipment.

They say the cause of the fire is under investigation.