Emergency Shelter Opened for Willow Fire Evacuees

A fast-moving fire that started Saturday in the Mohave Valley, Ariz. area, dubbed the Willow Fire, has resulted in the need for shelter and assistance for those that have been displaced.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter for evacuees at Mohave Valley Elementary School, 1419 E. Willow Drive, Mohave Valley.

One hundred and fifty homes are reported to have been evacuated. The Red Cross asks that anyone going to the shelter bring their medication and medical equipment (walkers, breathing machines, etc.), clothing for three days, and important papers such as insurance cards. Those affected by the fire can reach the American Red Cross at 800-842-7349.

Road closures still in effect are portions of Plantation Road, Courtwright Road east of Vanderslice, and Vanderslice east of Laguna Road. Also closed are portions of Topock Road near the power plant. Mohave Valley Fire Department reports that there has been a loss of structures, but they do not yet have figures available.

Horses displaced by the fire have been taken to the fairgrounds in Needles, Calif.

Sandi Nagel, secretary of Friends of the Fair in Lake Havasu City, said no horses have been brought to them. “But we will be glad to take in any horses or cattle that are displaced, if there’s an overflow in Needles,” Nagel said.

The Mohave Valley Fire Dept. is having a meeting at 3 p.m. today for Ranchero area residents only; no media will be allowed.

Captain Bryant Stanec was one of four firemen from Desert Hills Fire Department on scene to fight the Willow Fire Saturday.

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“We took a Type 6 and a Type 1 engine,” Stanec explained. “There were four of us on my engine: Captain John Sayre, Captain David Rodriguez, Firefighter Tylar Tuerschmann, and myself. We were assigned to structure protection and did save a house that the fire had reached. Right next to us was Mohave Valley Fire Department, with an engine, and they saved the house next door.”

Stanec said most of the brush that has burned is salt cedar, which burns hot and pops at the ignition point.

Following the first house they saved, Stanec said the Type 6 engine was then assigned to assist fire operations.

“Engine 212, with Chief Weber, was demobilized for the night, while our other engine continued putting out fires surrounding structures to present loss. One of our engines is still there today, and the other will go back tonight to work through the night.”

There have been unconfirmed reports of homes or structures lost, and Stanec saw a few burned buildings, but he didn’t have a confirmed number.

“There are a lot of outbuildings, sheds, and barns in that area,” he said.

The FAA has issued a temporary flight restriction for the entire Topock area for drones. Drones are prohibited at this time in the area until the FAA lifts the restriction. The restriction has been put in place to support firefighting air operations from the ground surface to 3,800 feet MSL.

RiverScene Magazine will provide more updates following an expected press release later today.

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