Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Wed, Dec. 11

Talk of the Town: Tenderfoot Fire support appreciated

Yarnell has again received wonderful support and continues to from so many directions during the recent Tenderfoot Fire and evacuation. Those who left town turned to friends, families, Yavapai County Emergency Shelter, and or strangers for help and found it.

As will happen, my husband and I got our signals crossed. I drove south to family while he went north to Peeples Valley and Prescott to camp. The following morning, when he was struggling with severe back pains, the evacuation center at Yavapai College and the Animal Rescue Shelter, which kept our dogs, was there to help him. We are uncertain why, but Kurt had to make an emergency trip to Yavapai Regional Medical Center. He is fine now. All of these people went above and beyond their duty to be helpful.

When the Tenderfoot Fire started, Arizona State, the Bureau of Land Management and Yavapai County Emergency people knew just what to do. “Code Red” notifications were sent out within minutes of the fire starting and before it could breach the cell tower ridge on lower Antelope Peak. The meeting that I was in broke up as our cell phones started alerting us.

We headed home to choose, pack or not, leave or stay. I could see the fire crest the mountain engulfing the cell towers and I packed. No time to get suitcases; blankets were filled with clothes and hauled to the RV. Precious china was piled in a box, amazingly no breakage! Photos, computer, address book, passports and paintings grabbed. Then, I left, leaving many precious things behind.

Meanwhile the Fire Brigades, Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Bureau of Land Management, Peeples Valley FD, Congress FD, and many Hotshots were on their way. The DC-10 out of Mesa made 11 runs dropping slurry. Helicopters sucked water out of the pond at Hidden Springs, dropping huge buckets full on the fire.

We are so grateful that the firebreak along the east side of town that was planned by Yarnell’s Chief, Ben Palm, and executed by the whole Yarnell Fire Department, was in place.

Then, thanks to the back burning, the firebreak and slurry drops, all homes were saved along the fire line. In 2013, the fire was stopped because the wind died; this time, because we were prepared.

Last week texts, emails and Facebook postings were asking everyone to come help with sandbagging in preparation for monsoon floods. Friday morning, I went up to the Presbyterian Church to pitch in, only to discover that a group of firefighters from Craig, Colorado, had come Thursday afternoon and filled 6,000 bags of sand. They, and other groups, the Cert Team, and many more volunteers distributed them to homes Saturday morning.

There is still a lot of work to be done to keep homes from flooding, if we have heavy rains. So many people have helped Yarnell residents and our critters. Thank you!

To everyone who fought the fire, took an evacuee in, or a dog, or any other act of kindness on our behalf, I want to say a big thank you!

As Honorary Mayor of Yarnell, a citizen who lost her home in the fire of 2013, and a member of this wonderful community, that will yet thrive in the mountains of central Arizona, we send deep appreciation to all!

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