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.