Doce Fire near Prescott: Crews gain ground battling flames

PRESCOTT, AZ - Officials said Wednesday they have been able to secure the west flank of the Doce Fire, but the wind-fueled blaze is still posing a containment problem.

The nearly 8-square-mile wildfire in Prescott National Forest is still spreading, as hundreds of firefighters continue to battle the flames.

The Doce Fire, which started around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday just west of Prescott, is at 6,379 acres as of Thursday morning, with zero percent containment.

In a 4:30 p.m. news conference, officials said their major accomplishment so far Wednesday was establishing an anchor point at the toe of the fire, allowing crews to progress up the lines of the fire. Bulldozers have also helped to secure the west flank of the blaze, as air crews offer support with retardant.

No structures have been lost, but as of Wednesday night, 460 homes have been evacuated in the surrounding areas.

The areas of Granite Basin Homes, Black Jack, Camp Anytown, Sundown Acres, Cielo Grande, Old Stage Acres, south half of Mint Creek Wash and American Ranch remain evacuated. Neighborhoods in the Williamson Valley corridor are on notice for potential evacuation.

Iron Springs Road south of the fire between the intersection with Williamson Valley Road and Conteras Road is closed to the public. Williamson Valley Road east of the fire between Pioneer Parkway and Outer Loop Road is also closed to the public.

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Officials said more than 600 firefighters are on the ground, battling the flames as of Wednesday. They're working 24 hours a day in 12 to 16-hour shifts, and are being supported by multiple heavy air tankers and helicopters. Crews from New Mexico and Idaho are also on scene providing assistance.

No injuries have been reported, and homes are not in imminent danger, according to a SWCC spokesman.

Wind continued to be a big factor during Wednesday's firefight as breezy conditions continued in the high country. SWCC officials said they expect similar conditions to fuel the fire on Thursday.

Seven people evacuated from the area spent Tuesday night at an American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter shelter at Yavapai College.

JB's Family Restaurants provided coffee and Papa John's delivered pizza as they stayed at the Canyon Chapter shelter at Yavapai College.

The Costco Wholesale store in Prescott brought fruits and pastries for an 8 a.m. breakfast Wednesday.

Red Cross volunteers set up cots and blankets in the gymnasium for the evacuated residents.

Investigators said the fire was human caused but the exact source is under investigation.

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