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Crooks Fire near Prescott spreads to over 2,000 acres; homes threatened

The Crooks Fire that is burning near Prescott is now roughly around 600 acres, according to the Prescott National Forest. The fire started Monday morning.
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 5:16 PM MST
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PRESCOTT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Nearly three days later, firefighters are battling windy weather and the flames of the Crooks Fire 11 miles south of Prescott. According to the Prescott National Forest website, the fire is up to 2,356 acres on Thursday afternoon. Officials say strong winds pushed the fire in all directions and have forced many residents to evacuate. There is zero containment.

Several areas have been evacuated, including Potato Patch, Breezy Pines and Walker Road, which is south of Lynx Lake. Areas that were first told to evacuate were Lookout Mountain, Mt. Tritle, Mt. Pines, Mount Union, Camp Kippa and Camp Kiva. Groom Creek was told to prepare for evacuation on Thursday afternoon.

Jesse Csincsak is one of the many homeowners forced to evacuate the area as the fire grows. Csincsak says the flames are just a half-mile from his home. He caught hotshots removing wood from his front porch on his Ring camera. “It is literally a heart-melting thing to see what they’re going through to save people’s homes,” he said.

Csincsak hopes he doesn’t lose his second home, the place he and his family go to in the summer to escape the Valley heat. “It’s just sad, even though it would be cool to get a shiny new one. There is just something about the stories behind it, you know, the scratches in the floor, how those got there, and the dent in the kitchen table. There’s character to all of those things,” he said.

Regardless, the Cave Creek man is grateful for the firefighters on the front line who risk their lives to protect people’s property. “I literally would have hugged them if I could have been there,” Csincsak said.

The fire is burning in dry, dead, rugged terrain, and strong winds are creating dangerous conditions for firefighters. Over 340 firefighters are currently fighting the growing blaze. Spot fires have spread to the west, north and northeast of the initial fire location. It is unknown what sparked the fire. A new fire coordination team arrived on Wednesday night to bring additional resources and equipment, including a masticator to fight dry and dead fuel.

Firefighters focused on keeping the fire south of Forest Road 261 and east of Senator Highway. Crews worked through the night to protect nearby structures and burn fuels along FR 261. On Wednesday evening, a community meeting was held at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where Yavapai County officials said evacuations would continue through Thursday and Friday due to high winds.

The following roads remain closed:

  • Senator Highway is closed from Mile Post 7 to Goodwin Road
  • Goodwin Road: Crown King to Senator Highway
  • Walker Road: Blocked at Senator highway
  • Lower Wolf Creek Road: Closed at Senator Highway
  • Big Bug Mesa Road: Closed at Goodwin Road

Residents who are looking for shelter can go to Yavapai College gym. For more information on evacuations, visit the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page or Twitter. For more updates on the Crooks Fire, visit inciweb.nwcg.gov.