Sawmill Fire Spreads Overnight Above Green Valley, Arizona

Apr 28, 2017, 01:02
Sawmill Fire Spreads Overnight Above Green Valley, Arizona

And on Friday, the windy conditions are expected to continue with gusts up to 45 miles per hour because of a storm that will pass through the burning area on into New Mexico, said Carl Cerniglia, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Tucson.

(UPDATED 11 a.m.) The Sawmill Fire burning north of Sonoita is now estimated to be 17,000 to 20,000 acres in area and is expected to grow today as strong winds push it eastward.

Those included 11 nuns ordered from their abbey on the Santa Ritas' western foothills Monday but allowed to return Tuesday after the fire changed direction.

Meanwhile, 350 active personnel continue to work on containing the Sawmill Fire.

The fire is still under investigation even though fire officials have determined it was human-caused.

The fire started Sunday about 10 miles southeast of Green Valley and then moved into and through the Santa Ritas before crossing and closing State Route 83 on the range's east side. All the nuns ended up staying at a bed-and-breakfast.

He said he wouldn't be surprised to learn the fire had reached more than 30,000 acres. Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels wrote on Facebook that the highway was closed from Interstate 10 to Highway 82 on Tuesday afternoon, until further notice. Service roads on the Arizona National Scenic Trail include roads 4110 to 4072, said Schewel.

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"We have been keeping a watchful eye on the fire, but we are prepared to leave when necessary", said J-Six resident Deana Donovan, while praising authorities for keeping the public informed.

Fire management officials say reduced winds Wednesday is expected to help the firefighting effort as ground crews connect and bolster containment lines around the fire's perimeter.

The fire's management team was upgraded late Tuesday from a Type 3 team to a Type 2 team, and a Type 1 team was scheduled to assemble Wednesday and take command Thursday, officials said.

An evacuation order remained in place for Rain Valley, about two miles west of the intersection of highways 90 and 82.

These conditions created the ideal combination for a fire, a Green Valley Fire Department spokesperson told KGUN, and all it needed was a small spark.

The fire is burning on lands protected by the Coronado National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

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