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Fire Fighting Crews Face Extreme Heat Warning

Communities throughout the southwest are continuing to assist with Arizona’s All Hazard Incident Management Team.

Even before 9:00 this morning, firefighters arriving in Phoenix from Colorado felt the heat. “I’m in shock and this is probably the hottest I’ve been,” said Jason Kline of the Red, White, and Blue Fire Protection District from the Town of Breckenridge, Co.  Kline and the 192 interagency, multi state fire personnel received this morning a special safety message on heat diseases as Arizona temperatures are heading towards 113 degrees today.

It was 109 degrees on Tuesday – the longest day of the year – in sun-drenched dry and dusty conditions when pallets of water arrived for firefighters at the Arizona State Forestry’s Incident Command Post in north Phoenix.  The water was donated from Walmart.

To shield themselves from the solstice sun while awaiting dispatch Tuesday, some firefighters took shelter in armories, thanks to the Arizona National Guard, which offers assistance to the statewide effort by allowing task forces in the Show Low and Tucson facilities.  The U.S. Forest Service provides shelter in Payson, and the Arizona Association of Fire Chiefs houses task forces in fire stations in Black Canyon City, Mayer, and Globe.  The U.S. Bureau of Land Management hosts a task force in Wickenburg, loans a trailer to the command post, and houses dispatchers at BLM offices – all proof of the major interagency effort to proactively mitigate Arizona’s new fire starts.

And the cooperation doesn’t stop there.  As task forces come and go from the incident command post at Pinnacle Peak Road, the Phoenix Police and Phoenix Fire Departments assist with public safety and traffic control.

The firefighters are assigned to the Arizona State Forestry Division’s Arizona All Hazards Incident Management Team, which is supported by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.  The team is forming and dispatching “task forces” for strategic pre-positioning in order to provide assistance to other fire districts and wildland firefighting partners in initial attack on new wildfire starts.

That effort involves strategically staging the wildland firefighters (193 total) and 23 engines around the state.

Arizona saw four new fire starts in the last 24 hours.  On Wednesday, six of seven Arizona Task Force crews were staffed and deployed to these locations:

Arizona 1 is staged north of Phoenix for Initial Attack.

Arizona 2 is at the Monument Fire in Sierra Vista.

Arizona 3 is assigned Wednesday to the Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport

Arizona 4 joined the BLM’s Weaver’s Mountain crews inWickenburg.

Arizona 5 is staged at the Phoenix command post for initial attack.

Arizona 6 dispatched to Yuma.

Arizona 7 is currently unstaffed and additional crews are ordered.

Each task force contains five engines, with up to five firefighters, Initial Attack hand crews consisting of 20 personnel, and one water tender that holds an average of 3500 gallons.


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