5/1/2013 2:42:00 PM FIRE SEASON IS UPON US: At least three wildfires burned in Yavapai County during red-flag conditions Tuesday
A truck and trailer travel Perkinsville Road past a wildfire that grew to 500 acres Tuesday afternoon.
Photo courtesy Matt Santos/Chino Valley Review
Courtesy Lisa Irish/The Daily Courier
Prescott Lakes blaze damages maintenance building
By Lisa Irish
Prescott Fire and Prescott Police answered a call about a fire at the Prescott Lakes Maintenance building at 8:39 p.m. Tuesday night and found a golf cart parked in front of the building on fire, the wall on fire, and flames coming from the eaves, Prescott Fire Division Chief Don Devendorf said.
The first engine on the scene called in a working structure fire and used keys inside a Knox-Box rapid entry system to get in the gate and enter the building, Devendorf said.
"That allowed us to get inside the building to fight the fire inside without having to break through a steel security door or damaging the gate," Devendorf said.
Firefighters extinguished the fire with 1,000 gallons of water, used thermal imaging cameras to search out hot spots throughout the building, then applied foam and water to those areas to make sure the fire did not spread.
Four engines, a battalion chief, and Fire Chief Dan Fraijo responded to the call, and by 9 p.m., the investigation began.
Prescott Police officers secured the area and called a detective to join the investigation.
Life Line Ambulance paramedics stood by in case anyone at the scene needed medical help, but no one was injured in the fire.
Firefighters were to remain at the scene for several hours to make sure the fire didn't start up again, Devendorf said.
At least three wildfires were burning in western Yavapai County Tuesday during dangerous red flag conditions.
The one that had firefighters most concerned was the 500-acre Perkinsville fire that was reported about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday on state trust lands just east of Chino Valley, near the intersection of East Perkinsville Road and Haystack Road.
At 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, a State Forestry Division spokesman said the forward progress had stopped on the blaze, with the help of a load of retardant from a heavy air tanker. It also had been moving northeast toward Perkinsville Road, so the road helped act as a fire line.
It was burning in grass and brush, fanned by winds gusting more than 40 mph.
"Homes are within a half-mile, but at last report, the fire was moving away from those homes," said Cliff Pearlberg, a fire information officer with the Arizona State Forestry Division, at about 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Perkinsville Road was closed to public use at press time Tuesday.
About 100 firefighters were on the ground including 13 engines and five water tenders, Pearlberg said. Fire and police personnel came from Chino Valley, Prescott, Central Yavapai, Yavapai County and the U.S. Forest Service.
The state ordered a Type I heavy airtanker as well as Type I and Type II firefighting crews to help.
The red flag warning was in effect for all of Yavapai County and northern Arizona Tuesday because of strong winds and low relative humidities.
The humidity was about seven percent Tuesday afternoon in the area of the Perkinsville fire, with south-southwest winds at 25 mph and gusting to 36 mph.
Another fire on the huge ORO Ranch about 50 miles northwest of Prescott was held at an estimated 69 acres Tuesday, since Prescott Forest firefighters were able to start attacking it Monday afternoon before winds kicked up too much.
One engine crew and the Prescott Hot Shots remained on that fire by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
"They got a good handle on it, but they're just not calling it contained because of the wind," said Debbie Maneely, Prescott Forest public information officer.
The ranch, also known as the Luis Maria Baca Float since its origins date back to a Spanish land grant, is located about 50 miles northwest of Prescott. It's not located in any fire district.
By the time a Prescott Valley mobile home porch caught fire about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Central Yavapai Fire District called in all its off-duty firefighters so they wouldn't be spread too thin, Capt. Rick Chase said.
The mobile home resident was able to escape and no one was injured, Chase said.
The flames from the porch spread into the grass and started heading toward a neighbor's mobile home about 100 feet away, but CYFD firefighters jumped on the fire in time to stop it.
The flames in the burned home kicked back up about 3 p.m. because of the wind, but firefighters quickly extinguished them. Four engines and a utility vehicle were among the responders.
The 1,200-square-foot mobile home is located in the 4000 block of N. Mobile Circle West in PV. About half of it was destroyed, Chase said. The cause is under investigation.