Crews Worked Overnight Trying to Catch Head of Fire
San Rafael Fire
News - 05/09/2022
Patagonia, AZ (5/9/22) – Crews took advantage of the decreased fire activity overnight and conducted fire handline construction ahead of the fire as a way to help slow the fire’s forward progress. This is a tactic used to reduce fuel in an area to potentially limit fire spread and growth. However, another round of Red Flag conditions Monday may hinder daytime fire suppression efforts as high winds, low relative humidity, and a dry fuel bed can create fast fire spread and erratic fire behavior, and likely unsafe fire conditions for direct suppression efforts. Predicted winds out of the southwest again can push the fire further to the north and northeast.Additional resources arrived on the fire Monday morning, include hand crews and engines. Nearly 120 personnel are assigned to the fire. Aircraft, including Large Air Tankers (LATs), Very Large Air Tankers (VLATs), and helicopters are also assigned, but high winds may limit the ability to use aircraft efficiently.On Sunday, the wind-driven fire pushed to the northeast twelve miles through a very dry grass crop. The fire was mapped Monday morning at 10,562 acres with no containment. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office reports SET for residents northeast of State Route 83 and Forest Road 799. The area south of State Route 83, in the area of Canelo Pass Road and Forest Road 799, remains in GO. Approximately 80 people have been evacuated due to the fire. Trigger points are used by fire management to determine when to notify residents of a possible evacuation based on current and expected fire behavior. But as with any wildfire incident, conditions can change quickly and residents are urged to stay alert and be mindful of their surroundings. The Red Cross has set up a shelter for evacuees at the United Methodist Community Church, 387 McKeown Avenue, in Patagonia. Currently, State Route 83 is open, but road conditions can also change at any given time. Drivers are urged to check 5-1-1. On Saturday, May 7, 2022, around 6:30 pm, the Department of Forestry and Fire Management, along with federal and local cooperators responded to the San Rafael Fire, approximately 22 miles southeast of Patagonia, in the San Rafael State Natural Area. The fire is under investigation.
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