No injuries were reported following a fire in the town of Oracle that burned through 3.96 acres on June 12.
Fire officials say the blaze – which caused damage to three structures – was likely started unintentionally by an area resident who was working with chemicals in his yard. One home and multiple sheds were destroyed. A total of seven homes were evacuated, according to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
While the fire was 100 percent contained by Thursday evening, more than 20 firefighters from various departments including Oracle Fire, Northwest Fire District, Golder Ranch, Picture Rocks and Avra Valley, remained on scene to put out hot spots, said NWFD spokesman Adam Goldberg.
Goldberg said once the call was received, crews were en route within 10 minutes.
A total of 30 deputies were also on scene to help with traffic control and evacuations.
The fire was initially spotted by firefighters who were in the area with a brush truck. Area residents Jim and Sherry Huffman were one of the couples whose house was threatened but ultimately undamaged thanks to the quick action of firefighters.
“We were driving behind a tanker truck on our way home,” said Jim. “We didn’t know where it was going, but then we realized it was stopping right by our house. The firefighters did a fantastic job. We couldn’t have asked for a better response.”
Babeu said education and community effort had a lot to do with minimizing the damage from the fire.
“The fire department has gotten the Oracle community to buy in,” said Babeu. “A number of houses were saved here because of good practices of cleaning up all brush around houses.”
The warmer season has continued to affect wildlands across the nation, including an ongoing blaze in New Mexico, known as the Raven Fire, which was caused by lightning. Helicopters have been sent to help control the blaze, which is currently estimated to be one-tenth of an acre in size. Also in New Mexico, the Asaayi Lake Fire is currently the largest burning fire in the state, having burned more than 400 acres in the Chuska Mountains, which spans into southern Colorado, from where residents have stated they can see smoke.
In California, a blaze near Lake Isabella in the Sequoia National Forest has continued to grow, but firefighters, using air tankers and helicopters to battle the 3.4-square-mile fire, expect to make continued progress in the coming days. The fire has so far burned 3.4 square miles, and forced the evacuation of a thousand homes, and already having damaged two structures. The blaze was 10 percent contained as of Monday morning.