Tenderfoot Fire near Yarnell estimated at 3,300 acres; fire was - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tenderfoot Fire near Yarnell estimated at 3,300 acres; fire was human-caused

Tenderfoot Fire Thursday, June 9 (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Tenderfoot Fire Thursday, June 9 (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Tenderfoot Fire Thursday, June 9 (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Tenderfoot Fire Thursday, June 9 (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Flames lit up the night sky near Yarnell on Thursday. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Flames lit up the night sky near Yarnell on Thursday. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Aerial view of Tenderfoot Fire burning near Yarnell (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Aerial view of Tenderfoot Fire burning near Yarnell (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
This is an aerial view of the flames 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 9. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) This is an aerial view of the flames 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 9. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
YARNELL, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Tenderfoot Fire burning near Yarnell is now at 3,300 acres after aerial mapping, according to officials. The wildfire is still about 10 percent contained.

The fire had been reported to be about 5,000 acres Thursday night, but that number was adjusted around 6 a.m. Friday after the fire was mapped by infrared flight. It will be mapped again later in the morning and acreage could change at that time.

Fire officials now say the fire was human-caused and is under investigation.

Authorities remain confident the fire will not grow out of control and containment could still happen by sometime early next week.

"It's still a situation where we want to err on the side of safety for residents," said Mike Reichling, a state fire official. "We want to make sure that they are out of there just in case."

Around 250 firefighters are battling the fire that started at about 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. Two more hot shot crews and 12 engines were brought in on Thursday.

"We're one of the highest priorities in the United States right now," said Mike Reichling with the Arizona State Forestry.

At 4 p.m. Friday, authorities reopened a 7-mile stretch of Highway 89 that has been shut down since Wednesday when the blaze began.

Some residents who had to evacuate are being allowed to go back home.

About 250 Yarnell residents were evacuated Wednesday night and 30 residents of nearby Peeples Valley were evacuated Thursday afternoon after winds fanned the flames.

Fire officials say residents on the west side of Yarnell are being allowed to return home Friday night.

Homes on the east side of town closest to the fire remain under mandatory evacuation, but authorities say that order could be lifted sometime Saturday.

APS crews worked throughout the night and power has been restored to half of the community. Once the area is safe for personnel to enter, APS will work on the damaged poles.

Federal authorities have authorized the use of federal funds to assist the Arizona Department of Forestry fighting the wildfire.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide funding for up to 75 percent of eligible firefighting costs.

Light winds of 5-10 mph Thursday were blowing flames away from Yarnell, said Dolores Garcia, a Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman.

The weather forecast calls for favorable conditions over the next several days, said RobRoy Williams, the incident commander. "We're looking very good," he said.

Helicopters were dipping in small ponds in the area Thursday, filling up with water and dumping it on the flames along the ridge tops.

No homes have been damaged or destroyed but three "outbuildings" were damaged, according to the Arizona Bureau of Land Management. 

[Photos: Tenderfoot Fire near Yarnell]

The Red Cross opened an evacuation center at Yavapai College at 1100 E. Sheldon St. in Prescott for those who evacuated due to the Tenderfoot Fire.

"We're prepared to shelter them for as long as it takes," said Diana Rodriguez with the Red Cross.

"We're praying our houses don't go again," said Yarnell resident Jane Sanderson, who was packing up and preparing to evacuate. “We just want everybody to be safe and have our homes safe and trust that our firefighters will be safe also."

[Raw video: Aerial view of Tenderfoot Fire near Yarnell]

The Arizona State Forestry said the Tenderfoot Fire started near the south side of Yarnell. The wildfire is burning on the east side of the town. The 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire burned on the west side of Yarnell.

Officials said brush clearing and other preventative work done in the community since the 2013 fire helped firefighters keep the latest fire out of the town by connecting areas already cleared of brush with new fire lines and burnout areas.

Sanderson said she is always prepared for something like this to happen.

“We keep defensible space," she said. "We always have the ability to pack and be ready to leave within a few minutes. We have medicines, we have important papers; we have clothing. That’s about all you can do."

You can see a map of the area by clicking/tapping here.

Yarnell resident Shannon Smith, who lost her home in the 2013 fire, was one of the few on her street who decided not to follow mandatory evacuations this time around after seeing the fire was at least a mile away. Her car is packed just in case.

She said neighbors have been in constant contact and offered to help each other pack, ensure doors are locked and deliver food and water.

"That is just a beautiful aspect of tragedy, how close we as a community have grown and healed through what we all went through," she said. "And this, I'm sure, is stirring it up for a lot of people."

Fire crews from multiple agencies are battling the fire, including those from the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Bureau of Land Management, the Yarnell Fire Department and the Congress Fire Department. Several aircraft, including a helicopter and a large jet, are dropping water on the flames.

Resources include:

  • 1– Air Attack
  • 2 – Helicopters
  • 4 – Type 1 Hotshot Crews
  • 2 – Type 2 Hand Crews
  • 20 – Engines
  • 4 – Water Tenders

There are no injuries reported.

Yavapai County has a phone bank open for residents to call, 928-442-5103.

The brush fire comes nearly three years since the Yarnell Hill Fire took the lives of the 19 Granite Mountain hotshots. The men died on June 30, 2013, trying to protect the community from fast-moving and erratic flames that trapped them with nowhere to go. It was the largest loss of life for U.S. firefighters since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The fire burned 127 homes.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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