Wildfire burns in midst of homes, but firefighters save them

Wildfire burns in midst of homes, but firefighters save them

19 June 2008

published by http://prescottdailycourier.com

USA — Someone started a wildfire right in the middle of a residential areaof Prescott Thursday, but a combination of luck and skill helped firefightersquickly corral it before any homes burned.

The fire burned nearly seven acres of a 10-acre lot along Rosser Streetsurrounded by the Eagle Ridge and Cloudstone subdivisions, fire inspector DaveMecca said.

“If we didn’t have hydrants and rapid response and wildland fire equipmenton the trucks … it’s a good possibility homes would have been involved,”Battalion Chief Dan Devendorf said. Easy access and the lack of wind also werekey, he said.

Devendorf was the first on the scene, hearing the 2:23 p.m. call as he wasdriving back from the fire department’s training center in his staff vehicle.

“It quickly went from one-eighth of an acre to three acres and startedspreading uphill toward structures,” he said.

He mapped out a plan of attack as fire trucks were on their way, and the flameswere out by 3:15 after a flare-up occurred, he said.

Temperatures hit 95 at the Prescott airport Thursday, while the relativehumidity dropped to only 3 percent.

“The moral of the story is, we’re in wildfire season,” Devendorf said.”We don’t get this lucky very often.”

Firefighters were even able to save a freestanding garage in the middle of thefire, spraying down the surrounding grass with a deck gun.

It’s a good thing so much vacant land surrounded the ignition site, fireinvestigator Kristi Gagnon said. The landowner on this unusually large parcelfor an urban neighborhood has built only the garage on the 10-acre lot.

The exact cause of the blaze remains under investigation, but Gagnon said itclearly was human-caused.

The fire ignited about 15 feet from the Rosser sidewalk and 20-25 feet from theroad, he described.

“I hope it’s a good eye opener for the public to be more careful,”Gagnon added.

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