Governor Jan Brewer today signed a Declaration of Emergency in response to the wildfires raging in Apache and Greenlee Counties. This declaration releases $200,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Funds (via the State General Fund) to pay for emergency responses and recovery expenses for damage resulting from the fires.
The funding will support costs not covered by the federal fire management assistance grant, as well as recovery efforts following suppression of the fire. The Governor’s Emergency Declaration also authorizes the Adjutant General to mobilize the Arizona National Guard as necessary to protect life and property.
In addition, the Governor has called for activation of the State Emergency Operations Center, as of 8 a.m. Tuesday. The State Emergency Operations Center provides coordination and direction for all state emergency response activities to assist in the protection of life and property within Arizona. The State Emergency Operations Center, located at the Papago Park Military Reservation, 5636 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, is under the direction of Lou Trammell, Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management.
Governor Brewer is authorized under state statute to declare a state of emergency. The declaration directs the following actions:
a. Declare that a State of Emergency exists in Apache and Greenlee Counties due to the Wallow Fire, effective May 29, 2011 and continuing; and
b. Direct that the sum of $200,000 from the general fund be made available to the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management to be expended in accordance with A.R.S. §35-192, A.A.C. R8-2-301 to 321, and Executive Order 79-4; and
c. Direct that the State of Arizona Emergency Response and Recovery Plan be used to direct and control state and other assets and authorize the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management to coordinate state assets; and
d. Authorize the Adjutant General to mobilize and call to activate all or such part of the Arizona National Guard as is determined necessary to assist in the protection of life and property throughout the State.
To date, all costs associated with response to the Wallow Fire are being supported by the federal fire management assistance grant. Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network website, www.azein.gov, for real-time incident updates, preparedness and hazard information and multimedia resources.
Statement from U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell:
In response to the large fires burning in Arizona, the U.S. Forest Service has deployed more than 2,500 interagency firefighters to protect lives and property through a joint incident command system, and we are coordinating the resources available at local, state and federal levels. While damage to homes, communities and people have been limited so far, we anticipate that the current dry and windy conditions will lead to several difficult days of firefighting ahead of us to prevent additional acreage within the state to be impacted. We are working with local partners to strategically deploy staff and equipment to minimize the impact on homes and communities within the region. The causes of the three large fires in Arizona (e.g., the Wallow fire, Horseshoe 2 fire, Murphy fire) are still under investigation.
ADOT Updates Regarding Wallow Fire
PHOENIX – Several major wildfires burning across the state have closed nearly 150 miles of highways in the eastern and southern Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona near Alpine has scorched nearly 200,000 acres since it started on May 29. ADOT wants to remind motorists traveling in the area that the following closures on state highways remain in effect:
- State Route 373, a 4.5 mile-long highway that connects the town of Greer in eastern Arizona with SR 260 west of Eagar, was closed Monday afternoon.
- US 191 is closed between Alpine and north of Clifton (mileposts 176-253).
- SR 261 and 273, the main access roads to Big Lake and Crescent Lake in the White Mountains, are closed. SR 261 is closed starting approximately seven miles south of SR 260 to Crescent Lake (mileposts 395-413) and SR 273 is closed between Sunrise Park and Big Lake (mileposts 383-394).
- US 180 is closed between the SR 260 junction near Eagar and the New Mexico state line (mileposts 403-433).
Two major wildfires are active in southern Arizona, including the Murphy Fire, which has claimed nearly 40,000 acres in the Coronado National Forest near Rio Rico and the Horseshoe Two Fire, which has engulfed over 100,000 acres in Cochise County near Portal. The following closures remain in effect for southern Arizona:
- SR 289 is closed along mileposts 2-10, approximately two miles north of the Interstate 19 junction.
- SR 366 is closed at milepost 118 leading up to Mount Graham near Safford after the U.S. Forest Service determined the risk of wildfire is too extreme to allow access to the public.
There is no estimated time to reopen the highways, according to ADOT.
Additional information on the Wallow Fire, Horseshoe Two Fire and Murphy Fire can be obtained through the Arizona Division of Emergency Management at http://www.azein.gov. To stay up-to-date on the latest highway conditions around the state, please visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1.
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