Firefighters, residents deal with aftermath of weekend storm

Updated: Jul. 13, 2020 at 3:21 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Residents and firefighters dealt with the aftermath of the first severe monsoon storm.

The thunderstorm that rolled through Saturday night, July 11, offered some relief from the extreme heat, but it also caused challenges. According to fire officials, lightning sparked a wildfire on the Navarro Ranch, located just west of Sahuarita.

“We are working the Navarro Fire,” said Tiffany Davila, a Public Affairs Officer with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. “Right now, it’s estimated at 1,100 acres. There is zero percent containment.”

About 150 local, state, and federal fire personnel are working to keep the flames away from homes. Davila says it is currently threatening three structures on Cisco Ranch, but there are approximately 100 other homes in the area.

“The winds could shift the fire at any time and move it in a different direction,” she said. “So, it’s extremely important that people pay attention and be prepared at a moment’s notice.”

If an evacuation order or notice needs to be issued, it will come from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

On Sunday, residents were also picking up the pieces left in the storms wake.

“The scariest thing is when we looked out this window and saw all of this roof over here,” said Julie Norris.

Norris has lived near the Amphi area for about two decades.

“I’ve never seen winds like we’ve had [on Saturday],” she said.

The storm blew part of her roof off onto her neighbors’ home and vehicle, however, Julie says things could have been worse. A power pole in front of her home is now holding on by mere cables and splinters. TEP crews came out on Sunday to brace it with one of their trucks until it can be replaced.

“Definitely [it could have been] worse because if those lines would have snapped, we would have had live electrical lines [on our property],” she said.

As she picks up debris around her yard and waits for a roofer to come out, some were displaced from their home this weekend. A tree toppled onto an apartment unit at a Mission Palms complex off Orange Grove. The Red Cross was on scene assisting those who had to be evacuated. Luckily, there were no injuries reported.

Officials say the monsoon is a double edged sword, cooling things down and helping suppress fires already burning.

“But, then we have the winds and the dry lightning associated with some thunderstorms and then we have another problem on our hands,” said Davila.

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