Information current as of 06/03/18:
Repairs to guardrail damaged by the Sawmill Fire on State Route 83 are complete and all restrictions on the roadway between Interstate 10 and Sonoita have been lifted, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
ADOT crews repaired about two miles of guardrail and supporting posts that were damaged in the fire. Several damaged road signs also were replaced.
Tomorrow, May 2, at 6:00 a.m., Bea Day’s Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) will transition management of the Sawmill Fire back to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, the Coronado National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management.
“Our suppression efforts were successful due to the tireless hard work performed by the firefighters and cooperators who worked in partnership with the team,” stated Southwest Area Incident Commander Bea Day.
Prolonged winds which drove the fire in recent days subsided and cooler temperatures helped reduce active fire behavior. Minimal smoldering fire activity was observed today. Dust devils will continue to occur and be visible within the fire perimeter.
The number of personnel assigned to the fire continues to decrease due to successful suppression efforts. Personnel numbers will be down to about 50 tomorrow, from a peak of almost 800 assigned to the fire. Firefighters will continue mop up and patrol operations to ensure the edge of the fire perimeter is secure.
Containment increased today and firefighters continued mop up operations to ensure the edge of the fire perimeter is secure. Today, fire personnel also visually assessed resource damage from the air to help them develop a plan to restore infrastructure (such as powerlines) and stabilize the burned area to help prevent erosion.
The Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross has closed both the Sonoita Bible Church Shelter and Shelter located at the South East Regional Park Shooting Range at 11296 S. Harrison Road. The shelter trailer with supplies to re-open the shelter will remain on site at the SE Park Shooting Range should there be a need. If anyone needs a place to stay or Red Cross assistance, they can call 520-318-6740.
Last night firefighters patrolled along the fire perimeter where pockets of heat had been detected. No growth occurred on the fire overnight.
Today, firefighters will patrol and strengthen the fireline along the perimeter, working to increase containment on the northeast side. Despite high winds and rough terrain, only minor injuries have been reported. Due to the successful firefighting efforts, demobilization of fire personnel will begin.
Today was a productive, safe, and quiet fire day despite the strong winds testing the firelines. Firefighters experienced wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour (mph) that created dust devils and ash rolls. Due to the successful work of fire crews, the fire is now 61% contained.
Tomorrow, firefighters will continue patrolling and securing the fire’s edge, focusing on the northeast side. Some fire personnel will be released due to the successful firefighting efforts from the previous operational periods.
A community meeting will be held tonight, Friday April 28, at 7:00 p.m. at the Benson School’s Multipurpose Room at 360 S. Patagonia St, Benson, AZ. It will be livestreamed on http://Facebook.com/sawmillfire2017. American Sign Language services and captioning will be provided.