Forest / Wild Fire – North-America – USA

EDIS Number: WF-20120319-34564-USA
Date / time: 19/03/2012 04:00:02 [UTC]
Event: Forest / Wild Fire
Area: North-America
Country: USA
State/County: State of Arizona
Location: Yuma
Number of Deads: N/A
Number of Injured: N/A
Number of Infected: N/A
Number of Missing: N/A
Number of Affected: N/A
Number of Evacuated: N/A
Damage level: Moderate


A massive brush fire burning approximately 18 square miles near Yuma has prompted hundreds of evacuations and continues to threaten homes as fire crews battle high winds and blowing dirt to bring the blaze under control. Three firefighters have been sent to the hospital with minor injuries, and at least two homes have been destroyed. Crews are still struggling to get a handle on the size and scope of the blaze, which is being fed by 45 mph winds, said Michael McCaleb, Washington County Emergency Management director. "You can't see at all," said McCaleb, whose agency along with at least eight other rural fire and emergency agencies are pooling resources to combat the flames. "Firefighters are having a hard time even seeing where the fire is. They really don't even know what's burned because smoke is so bad." In the spots the fire has already burned, blowing dirt has taken the place of thick smoke severely limiting visibility, McCaleb said. The blaze began around 1:15 p.m. near County Road 23 and County Road L, about 20 miles southeast of Yuma, and quickly spread north. A reverse 911 call went out to residents in the 224 square miles surrounding the fire, warning them to evacuate the area, according to Ana Baucke, a spokeswoman for Yuma County. The evacuation zone includes the town of Eckley. Those east of the smoke should evacuate to Wray Rehabilitation and Activity Center; those to the west should head to the Yuma Community Center, she said. Along with two homes, several other structures have been destroyed, Baucke said. Highway 34 has been closed one mile east of Eckley through County Road M. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, Baucke said.

Event updates:
Situation Update No. 1 on 2012-03-20 at 03:52:16.

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