TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It was another busy weekend for firefighters and Pima County Sheriff’s Department deputies responding to the Bighorn Fire.
“[Saturday], we had 16 deputies go out to the Redington area,” said Dep. James Allerton, a PCSD public information officer.
Deputies told about 30 ranchers to leave the area, which brings the total number of people forced out of their homes since the wildfire started to more than 700. It’s a full-time task coordinating with the Incident Management Team and issuing “Ready, Set, Go” notices.
“Our sheriff’s auxiliary volunteers and our deputies have been spending time blocking certain roads where areas have been evacuated. We have kept people from going [where they] don’t belong,” Allerton said. “They are also continuing their regular patrols and duties.”
There has been a lot of love for the more than 1,000 fire personnel working in sometimes treacherous conditions to keep residents, homes, and businesses safe.
However, law enforcement efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“We hear shout-outs on Facebook, we see posts, we get calls,” Allerton said. “We have nothing but gratitude for the fire services, all the crews that are out working, the airplanes that are there, as well as the Incident Management Team.”
This weekend has been particularly challenging, as winds gusts of more than 35 mph limited the ability to fight the flames from above. The fire is now burning more than 100,000 acres and is 45 percent contained.
“As you proceed over here to the east side, we have been doing a little bit of burning and building some containment lines,” Bighorn Fire response Section Chief Andy Huntsberger said. “So far, everything is holding.”
Conditions can change quickly, though, making an even quicker response crucial.
“Getting the information out to the right people in a timely manner can definitely save lives,” Allerton said.