FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County Emergency Management and the elected officials of Pinal County are providing the following update on the response to the Shipman Fire burning near Kearny since Monday.
The Shipman Fire is 50% contained at this time. A Type II Incident Management Team began fire operations on Tuesday, July 9 and with more than 150 firefighters on scene, significant strides toward containment occurred today.
The fire has burned more than 500 acres and fire hot spots have been manageable within the containment area. The area received some rain and, at the moment, there is very little smoke.
Shelter Managers for the American Red Cross have indicated there are no residents at the Ray Elementary School and none are anticipated to arrive this evening. Staff members from Pinal County Public Health assisted and evaluated conditions at the shelter site and provided residents with informational brochures on actions to take after the fire.
The Pinal County Air Quality Department has sent an inspector to evaluate and monitor air quality conditions and standards. There is minimal smoke within the area which should not impact residents; however, citizens with chronic respiratory problems are still encouraged to remain indoors.
Pre-evacuation notices have been lifted but 20 homes remain evacuated.
The Arizona Department of Transportation is still reporting traffic restrictions on north and southbound Highway 177 and pilot cars are escorting motorists through the area.
At today’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, the members expressed appreciation and gratitude for the firefighting, shelter, traffic control and public safety efforts underway in Kearny.
Pinal County personnel will continue working to support the wildfire and recovery efforts. No additional updates are anticipated unless conditions deteriorate or if county personnel deem additional precautions or actions are needed.
County Officials Provide Shipman Fire Update – 6:00 PM July 9, 2013
FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County Emergency Management and the elected officials of Pinal County are providing the following update on the response to the Shipman Fire burning near Kearny.
Ray Elementary has been established as an emergency shelter. The school is located at 701 North Highway 177 in Kearny. The American Red Cross is on hand providing food, shelter and support resources to anyone displaced by the fire.
Additional potential shelter locations have been identified by Pinal County Emergency Management. If there is a need to open those shelter locations, an update will be provided. At this time, the Ray Elementary location is able to meet the needs of the community.
Pinal County Emergency Management has deployed its Roadrunner Incident Command Communications vehicle to enhance radio communications capabilities between the first responder agencies. The Roadrunner vehicle should be in place by 7:00 PM.
Mobile phone services were disrupted by the fire. Pinal County emergency personnel have made contact with Verizon and anticipate full or partial service could be restored later this evening.
There was a power outage earlier today affecting the communities of Kearny, Hayden and Winkelman. As of press time, service has been restored.
Pinal County has activated its Emergency Operations Center to assist with multi-agency emergency management support and coordination. Pinal County officials will continue to deploy resources, monitor and coordinate Shipman Fire response and recovery efforts.
If additional evacuations are necessary, please observe the instructions of public safety personnel. Individuals should take a multi-day supply of any required medications with them, along with copies of insurance policies and medical identification cards. The specific recommended actions at the end of the update below continue to be in effect.
The Previous July 9, 2013 2:00 PM Update Follows Below
County Officials Provide Shipman Fire Update
FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County Emergency Management and the elected officials of Pinal County are providing the following update on the response to the Shipman Fire burning near Kearny. The fire began around 5:00 PM on Monday, July 8 and continues to burn. Crews have established a fire line intended to protect the Town of Kearny but as of press time have a containment level of about 5 percent. Fire behavior, wind and weather conditions continue to be closely monitored with multiple local and wildland fire crews battling the fire.
Pinal County Public Health is working with the American Red Cross to respond to any medical concerns of residents in the area or people who arrive at the shelter.
Late last evening, Pinal County Public Works crews assisted the American Red Cross in transporting supplies and equipment from Casa Grande for shelter operations.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office supported the fire response extensively starting last evening and continuing today. They assisted with evacuations, traffic control, locating safe temporary shelter and augmenting the efforts of the Town of Kearny Police Department and fire crews in the area. The Sheriff’s Office also initiated the incident command and has continued to support it.
Pinal County Animal Care & Control is mobilizing its emergency response trailer, which includes kennel space for dogs and cats whose owners may be seeking shelter. Reports indicate that livestock affected by the fire or smoke are being cared for by neighboring ranchers.
Both Arizona Public Service (APS) and Salt River Project (SRP) have utility lines in the area. Kearny lost power today at about 1:50 PM. There is no estimate for power restoration at this time.
The following state and federal agencies have been contacted and are monitoring the situation or providing resources to aid in the fire response:
- Arizona Division of Emergency Management
- Arizona State Forestry Division
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- Arizona Department of Public Safety
- Arizona Department of Transportation
- Arizona Department of Agriculture
- Bureau of Land Management
- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
Senator Barbara McGuire, a Kearny resident, has maintained contact with Pinal County Emergency Management since the fire began. “I want to commend all the first responders who are on scene here. Fire crews from Kearny, Hayden, Winkelman, Dudleyville, Globe, Superior, the state forest crews, county Sheriff’s office and the Red Cross are here working hard. Helicopters are also on scene dropping water on the advancing fire. It is very unnerving because the fire is so near my home but I am putting my faith in knowing that these crews are doing all they can.”
Pinal County Supervisor Pete Rios, who represents the eastern Pinal County region was on scene at the shelter and command center until the very early hours of this morning.
“Agencies and first responders have trained for many years for just this type of scenario. Although wildfire response resources are stretched thin across the west, I have been impressed with the response to the Shipman Fire so far,” Rios said. “This is a beautiful but vulnerable part of Pinal County and I pray that we can keep the property and vegetation loss to a minimum.” Specific Recommended Actions:
Pinal County Public Health officials recommend that people who have respiratory difficulty, asthma or other lung conditions remain indoors and take every effort possible to avoid the smoke. People with swamp coolers should limit their use to avoid bringing smoky air into their homes or businesses.
People attempting to travel State Highway 177 will be met with law enforcement escorts to safely pass through the fire area. Closures are possible depending on fire behavior, wind conditions or weather. People are encouraged to take an alternate route or avoid travel to or through Kearny for the time being. Roads should be kept clear in the event of additional evacuations or for first responders and emergencies only.