Kearny wildfire burns 1 home, knocks out power - New York News

Kearny wildfire burns 1 home, knocks out power

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KEARNY, Ariz. -

Residents of 100 homes in Kearny are now being allowed to go home as firefighters reach 5 percent containment on the Shipman Fire.

That's thanks to 200 firefighters, many of whom were called in from other agencies.

Arizona State Forestry officials say the Shipman Fire was reported about 5 p.m. Monday and it's believed it was started by lightning. The wildfire is burning through salt cedar trees along the San Pedro River bed and has burned 300 acres.

"This fire got pushed immediately in all directions, it generally went to the northeast and southwest cause that's where the heaviest fuels were," said Jonetta Trued, Eastern Arizona Incident Management.

Tuesday, crews worked to dig containment lines. They are using a bulldozer and other equipment to protect homes and the town's airstrip.

One ranch house has been destroyed.

"It's scary for everybody, because if the winds change, it can bring it all back this way. We just watched a fire where 19 guys died and homes destroyed. It's scary," says area resident Phillip McLennen.

Electricity also has been restored to the town hours after Salt River Project shut off power as a safety precaution about 1:50 p.m. Tuesday.

But residents now have a new problem. Pinal County officials say mobile phone services are disrupted by the fire and may not be fully restored until late Tuesday.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials closed five miles of State Route 177 near Kearny on Monday, but it has since re-opened.

Pinal County Sheriff's officials say they do have a plan in place in case the fire moves closer to town.

"We're waiting to see what this fire does in the near future.  Right now it seems to have laid down a little bit..there's some humidity in the air, it rained a little bit earlier..but again there's a huge fuel load here..and if the wind picks up..and it seems like they're gonna do some things tonight that are probably pretty important as to what this fire is gonna do tomorrow," said PCSO Chief Deputy Steve Henry.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter for evacuees at Ray Elementary School. About 25 people spent the night in the shelter.

"We're just spread so thin. We have 400 volunteers up in Prescott staffing the memorial, a shelter in Prescott, a shelter in Wickenburg, recovery center in Yarnell," said Brian Gomez of the Red Cross.

Weather is the wild card that can change everything in an instant -- and with thunderstorms forecast for the area again, we just don't know if it will help or hurt.

Stay with myfoxphoenix.com for updates to this developing story.

Ray Elementary School
701 North Hwy 177
Kearny, AZ 85137
520-363-5515
www.redcross.org/az/phoenix

For more on wildfires in Arizona, go to myfoxphoenix.com/wildfires.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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