Prescott wildfire contained; Parks not so lucky
Originally Published: June 16, 2010 4:17 p.m.
UPDATE, 6:20 p.m.:Firefighters held a wildfire located only about three miles south of Prescott Wednesday to a size of two acres, despite concerns about high winds during a red-flag warning.Kaibab National Forest firefighters and residents about 11 miles northeast of Williams are not so lucky.Fanned by 30 mph winds, the Eagle Rock wildfire reported there Wednesday has grown to 800 acres and is threatening about 50 homes in the Spring Valley area of Parks. The Coconino County Sheriff's Office ordered an evacuation of that area by about 5 p.m.The National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning for most of northern Arizona including the Yavapai County mountains until 8 p.m. Wednesday because of the potential for high winds and low humidity.The agency expected wind gusts to reach 55 mph alongside single-digit humidity levels, with gusts as strong as 38 mph in the Yavapai County mountains.Luckily, firefighters reported southerly winds of only 8-10 mph in the Creek Fire area south of Prescott. The Prescott airport was reporting wind speeds of 12-19 mph and gusts of 22-33 mph throughout the day.Incident Commander Bob Travis of the Prescott National Forest said a previous prescribed burn also was a big help in quickly containing the Creek wildfire.The human-caused Creek Fire started on the Prescott National Forest at a designated dispersed campsite along Wolf Creek Road about 1.5 miles east of Highway 89, Prescott National Forest spokesperson Debbie Maneely said. That is about a mile south of the area where the 2002 Indian Fire burned.No one was at the campsite when firefighters arrived shortly after a fire lookout employee on Mount Union spotted the fire at 2:30 p.m., Maneely said.She didn't know whether the fire was the result of an unattended campfire at the campsite. The Prescott Basin has dozens of designated dispersed campsites that feature metal campfire rings and numbered posts but are not close to other campsites. No one can camp in the Prescott Basin outside of campgrounds and designated dispersed campsites.Forest Service officials closed Wolf Creek Road but could reopen it as early as about 7 p.m., Maneely said.The forest's Type II team and two engines, two Prescott Fire Department engines, a Central Yavapai Fire District water tender and the Groom Creek Fire District were among the agencies responding to the fire.INITIAL REPORT, 4:17 p.m.:Prescott National Forest and Prescott firefighters are trying to put out a wildfire that started Wednesday afternoon in the Indian Creek area.Mount Union lookouts reported seeing smoke from the fire at 2:30 p.m., said Debbie Maneely, spokesperson for Prescott National Forest.The one-acre Creek Fire started in the Wolf Creek camping site off of 89A on White Spar Road about seven miles south of Prescott in the Ponderosa Park area, Maneely said."We have four engines on the scene, two water-tenders, and two prevention people there," Maneely said. "Law enforcement with help from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office is closing down Wolf Creek Road so we can get our vehicles up there to fight the fire."Fire crews ask people to stay away from Wolf Creek Road, which is a small, one-lane winding dirt road, so firefighters can get the wildfire under control, Maneely said.A Type II crew responded as well to help fight the fire as a precaution because of high winds."We are not releasing any resources yet and there is no containment on the fire," Maneely said at 4 p.m."We won't know the cause of the fire until after they get done with the initial attack and get it under control," Maneely said.No one has been reported injured in the fire, Maneely said."We've had no requests for ambulances or medical assistance," Maneely said.Prescott fire had also responded to a possible structure fire at Yavapai Regional Medical Center West campus that turned out to be a false alarm, so their crews went to the Indian Creek fire to help get it under control, said Eric Kriwer, spokesman for the Prescott Fire Department.Central Yavapai firefighters also responded to a structure fire in Prescott Valley on Wednesday afternoon.