Yuma County fire: Fire in Yuma County contained

11:40 AM, Mar 19, 2012   |    comments
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  • Courtesy Lila
  • Courtesy Jason Hawley

The rest of the residents living in the 224-square-mile area were allowed to return home on Monday morning. 

Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day says he and the Civil Air Patrol headed to the fire via helicopter Monday to survey the damage and the burn area. 

Day says the fire scorched 2,400 acres. He says there is no estimate of how many livestock were lost or what the cost of the damage is.

Two homes have been destroyed and three firefighters from Yuma County were injured.

"The weather is cooperating today and we're looking at little to no wind until later this evening," Day said Monday morning. "Once we get up in the air we'll have a better idea of how much damage we're looking at and be able to understand the full extent of this fire. We anticipate our crews will be out until we're confident there is no longer any danger." 

Two of the firefighters were hospitalized overnight. One of the firefighters suffered minor burns to the face, another has burns to the arms and the third was treated for smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were on scene Monday morning fighting hot spots and flare-ups.

9NEWS Meteorologist Marty Coniglio says the wind gusts in the area were between 50 and 70 mph on Sunday.

Authorities say the fire began at about 1:15 p.m. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. A local newspaper says it was because of a downed power line.

"It was on top of us in minutes," Gary Hoffner, an area resident, said.

He had to help his neighbors get their things and get out of the area.

"We were helping one family evacuate everything out," he said. "It's one of the worst things I've ever seen."

The area is full of dry, grass fields that authorities say could ignite easily. There are also reports the fire had skipped over roads because of the wind.

County Commissioner Trent Busher watched as farmers from around the area got into their tractors and tried to alter the fire's path.

"We've already heard we've lost a couple homes and barns so we've got to get this thing under control," Bushner said.

"Everybody has done what they can to help curtail this fire to try to stop it," Hoffner said.

The winds in the area began to dissipate after 10 p.m. on Sunday.

"I think if we get this wind to calm down, we can get a handle on it," Bushner said.

Additionally, the Phillips County Sheriff's Department says it had a prescribed burn that got out of control north of Yuma County on Sunday.
Deputies say the fire began on County Road 18 between County Roads 7 and 9. Five homes were evacuated, but no structures were damaged. The fire was 80 percent contained on Sunday night. No one was injured.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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