Estimated Acres: 40,356 (based on visual estimate)
Start Date: April 23, 2017
Cause: Human caused, under investigation
Origin Location: 10 miles southeast of Green Valley, Arizona
Fuels: Tall grass, riparian woodland, mesquite/oak brush, oak woodland, and pinyon-juniper
Total personnel: Approximately 606
This morning, a Type I Incident Management Team led by Incident Commander Bea Day assumed command of the Sawmill Fire.
Firefighters conducted successful burnout operations along the south end of the fire, along Arizona Highway 83 and Empire Ranch Road, aided by the lull in winds yesterday and favorable conditions into the evening. Firefighters observed increased fire activity in Apache Creek Canyon along the eastern flank of the fire.
High winds are expected to return today with gusts approaching 35 miles per hour during the Red Flag Warning, which is in place from noon to 7:00 p.m. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Friday as a result of this prolonged wind event.
The fire size is estimated at 40,356 acres. This figure is based on a visual estimate from midday aerial reconnaissance yesterday and may change as a result of additional incident mapping and fire growth. To gauge where the fire is most active throughout the day, visit https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/ to view an interactive fire map. Resources assigned to the fire include 16 crews, 44 engines, four water tenders, five helicopters, and miscellaneous overhead. Five air tankers are also available locally.
An evacuation order remains in place for Rain Valley. Arizona Highway 83 remains closed to public traffic. The evacuation center at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds has moved to the Sonoita Bible Church, located at 3174 Arizona Highway 83, Sonoita, Arizona.
A community meeting will be held tonight, Thursday April 27, at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Bible Church (714 S. J-6 Ranch Road, Benson, Arizona).
There is a briefing for news media today at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds at 4:00 p.m.
For public information on the Sawmill Fire, please contact Sawmill Fire Information at (520) 455-9340. Media inquiries can be made by calling (505) 750-4636. Official incident information as well as links to County evacuation alerts and Arizona Highway Information are included at the Sawmill Fire InciWeb page (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5164/) and the Sawmill Fire Information Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SawmillFire2017).