Photo by Max Efrein.
Originally Published: July 3, 2017 6:01 a.m.
Quickly after the Goodwin Fire began June 24, Arizona Public Service (APS) officials were notified of its potential.
As the blaze grew, the utility gradually de-energized any power lines either in the fire’s path or in the way of firefighters trying to work ahead of the flames.
“Our number one priority is to the fire IC (incident command) right now to ensure they have safe working conditions to fight the fire,” APS spokesperson Annie DeGraw said Friday.
All of the outages from the fire by Friday afternoon had been from feeders originating at the company’s Poland Junction substation, which serves as the power nucleus for several towns, including Mayer and Poland Junction.
When the fire was threatening that area on June 28, APS officials were thinking they might lose that substation.
“That would have been significant,” said Steve Quinn, Arizona Public Service’s Northwest Division manager.
Fortunately, the fire turned and APS seemed to incur only moderate damage to its poles feeding through the countryside.
“We had a little, but it wasn’t nearly what we were expecting,” Quinn said.
“Although, I would caveat that with there are areas we still haven’t done a full assessment on because we haven’t been allowed in,” DeGraw added.
Some such damage included four poles east of Highway 69 that were burned when the Goodwin Fire jumped over the highway on June 27. The utility company replaced those poles on Friday.
The damaged areas were sectionalized so that crews could work on the lines while power could still be restored to the majority of the Mayer and Poland Junction communities.
Even as residents return to their homes in areas such as Poland Junction, APS is cautious to promise that power will remain on until the fire is completely dealt with.
“Depending on the path of the fire, we may have to de-energize for any given reason,” DeGraw said.
The APS outage map, found at OutageMap.aps.com/OutageViewer/, indicated Saturday evening, that there were still about 104 people without power from Hawk Mountain Trail to Breezy Pine Road and Poland Road to Highway 69 in Dewey.
The estimated restoration time for those residents is at about noon Wednesday, July 5, pending a damage assessment and how long the fire continues.