Drone intrusion over the Goodwin Fire

June 28, 2017 - 9:45 pm

Location: Bradshaw Ranger District,  of Prescott National Forest; 14 miles south of Prescott, AZ (T12N R1W, S28)

Start date: June 24, 2017, 4:00 p.m.

Size: Approximately 20,400 acres Blue Hills, Potato Patch,

Percent Contained: 1%

Cause: Under Investigation

Resources Assigned: Approximately 950 personnel

Vegetation: Predominantly dense chaparral and Ponderosa pine stands in drainages.

A Public Meeting will be held tomorrow, Thursday, June 29 at 6 p.m. at the Lifepointe Church, 10100 AZ highway 69, Prescott Valley.

DRONE INTRUSION OVER THE FIRE: This evening there was an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), also called a drone, seen flying over the fire. This caused the immediate grounding of all firefighting aircraft. These aircraft are being used extensively to provide protection to threatened structures. This drone incursion endangered the lives of the firefighters operating at the fire and limited their ability to protect the community. Law enforcement responded to the area and is investigating the incident. The community is reminded that “if you fly, we can’t fly.” There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire area and it is illegal to fly a drone within the restricted area. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Summary:

Six new communities were issued mandatory evacuation orders this morning in anticipation of another day of extreme fire behavior. The Yavapai Sheriff’s Office issued the new orders to residents of Mt. Union, Walker, Mountain Pine Acres, and Dewey west of Hwy 69. But, by mid-day it was apparent that the day would be very different.

Over 150 firefighters worked all night last night creating bulldozer line between the fire and Mayer. Those lines were burned out today which prevented any significant growth toward the town.  Today firefighters were able to contain the 500 acres which burned over Highway 69 between Poland Junction and Mayer yesterday.  That shut off growth to the northeast. Early in the morning the fire crested a ridge and dropped into a basin toward Poland Junction. But winds were lighter and relative humidity did not drop to the low levels that contributed to yesterday’s growth spurt. Aircraft was a dominant factor in today’s firefighting effort.Three Very Large Air Tankers (VLATs) joined heavy air tankers and helicopters going point to point to reduce fire intensity around endangered structures

Tonight firefighters will benefit from higher relative humidity which should help reduce fire intensity. There will continue to be gusty winds which could contribute to active burning through the night as southwest winds line up with terrain. If conditions are favorable they will also do some burning to strengthen lines to the north and northeast, helping to defend Breezy Pines and Poland Junction. Tankers and helicopters flew tonight until nightfall.

Evacuations:

·         all of Mayer,

·         Walker, Blue Hills, Mountain Pine Acres, Dewey west of Hwy 69 excluding Prescott Country Club, Chauncey Ranch Road, Mt. Union

·         the area west of Highway 69, from Mayer to Poland Junction.

·         Poland Junction, Chaparral Hills and the Breezy Pines subdivision, .

·         The evacuation remains in place for Pine Flat

 A shelter has been set up at the Bradshaw Mountain High School, 6000 E Long Look Drive in Prescott Valley off of Glassford Hill Rd.

Pre-Evacuation:

A Pre-evacuation is in effect for Orme School.

For additional information regarding evacuations and pre-evacuations please call the Yavapai County Emergency Operation Center at (928) 442-5103, 7am – 7pm.

Closures:

·         State Highway 69 is closed from I-17 to the Hwy 169 Junction.

·         The Bradshaw Ranger District has expanded the Goodwin Fire area closure on Wednesday, June 28th at 6:00 am.  The area affected follows the Prescott NF boundary along State Hwy 69 on the East and North sides, then State Highway 89 on the West, and as far south as Walnut Grove across to Cleator.  All campgrounds and recreation opportunities in this area will be closed to the public as a precautionary measure to ensure public safety and to allow safe travel for those involved in the Goodwin Fire. Please visit the Prescott National Forest website (www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott) or Inciweb (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5278/) for a map of the closed area.

Structure Damage: Goodwin Fire managers and cooperators have been receiving inquiries regarding structures damaged or destroyed during the Goodwin Fire. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office personnel are working with fire officials to determine the extent of damaged structures. However, this can only be accomplished when it is safe for deputies to enter, complete an accurate assessment, and determine ownership. Efforts to expedite the release of such information is ongoing. In the meantime, the patience of those residents who have been evacuated is greatly appreciated.

CodeRed: The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office now utilizes CodeRED® as its Emergency Notification System (ENS). With this service, we can send messages to residents and businesses within minutes with specific information when an emergency or time-sensitive issue arises. Although ENS does contain published landline phone number information by default, the Sheriff’s Office may only get landline phone data updates twice a year. This is why it is vital that you register all your phone numbers directly to assure contact in an emergency. Please go to the Sheriff’s Office website: www.ycsoaz.gov and click on the Emergency Notification System tab or the Code Red link on the home page.

Source: