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1:09 PM Mon, Nov. 19th

Lightning strike sparks wildfire in Mayer

A lightning strike shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday sparked a wildfire in Mayer. (Richard Haddad/WNI)

A lightning strike shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday sparked a wildfire in Mayer. (Richard Haddad/WNI)

Firefighter crews from multiple agencies were able to knock down a lightning-caused wildfire in Mayer early Wednesday afternoon, June 13.

The fire began shortly before 2 p.m. at Bensch Ranch near the intersection of Old Sycamore Road and Highway 69, said Mike McGhee, Mayer Fire Department battalion chief. The blaze managed to spread to about 1.5 acres before crews could get it contained. A few homes were at risk, but crews were able to protect them.

“We did get some rain and humidity, which helped slow this thing down,” McGhee said.

Bensch Ranch and E. Broken Bit Road were both closed while crews handled the incident.

Personnel from Mayer Fire Department, the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, the Prescott National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management all assisted in the operation.

This was the first lightning-caused fire McGhee has handled in his district. He said as we creep closer to the monsoon season in Arizona, they will likely become a much more common occurrence.

A resource firefighters will often monitor on stormy days is a lightning map, McGhee said. By knowing where thunderstorm activity is taking place, they can better monitor potential fire activity in an area. On Wednesday alone, there were a number of lightning strikes in near Mayer, Cordes Lakes, and the Camp Verde area.

“I don’t know how many have actually started a fire, but there have been a lot,” McGhee said.

“This one just happened to be right across the street from us.”

There are quite a few lightning maps available online, but one that people can turn to for more information is lightningmaps.org.

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