YARNELL, Ariz. – A brush fire threatened structures Wednesday in the north-central Arizona town of Yarnell — the scene of a 2013 wildfire in which 19 members of an elite firefighting crew were killed.
Some residents on the town’s east and west sides were being told to evacuate their homes as a precaution, Yavapai County sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said.
He said no injuries have been reported and only one building has been burned in the fire estimated at 400 acres before nightfall. Television footage showed a garage engulfed in flames.
Dolores Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management, said there was no lightning in the Yarnell area Wednesday and the cause of the fire was under investigation.
It was burning south of the town and east of the site of the Yarnell Hill Fire in which members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died when they got trapped by the flames nearly three years ago — the deadliest U.S. tragedy for wildland firefighters in several decades.
That lightning-caused wildfire destroyed nearly 130 homes in the area.
On Wednesday, some Yarnell homeowners said they saw smoke and received a voluntary evacuation notice on their cellphones.
A Red Cross shelter for evacuees was set up at Yavapai College in Prescott.
Highway 89 through Yarnell was shut down as U.S. Forest Service crews did back-burns and dug trenches while air tankers dropped slurry loads before nightfall.
Authorities said the fire appeared to be moving up mountain slopes to the northeast of Yarnell and away from the town, but its western flank still was threatened.