All Tenderfoot Fire evacuations lifted, residents allowed to return home

Posted at 5:21 AM, Jun 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 10:34:32-04
Mandatory evacuations due to the Tenderfoot Fire, which has burned 4,040 acres, have been lifted. Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies said there were no restrictions or road closures as of 5 p.m. Saturday.
The fire, which has burned for three days, grew by about 1,000 acres overnight. 
Some residents of a north-central Arizona town who were evacuated by a brush fire were allowed to return home Friday night, with the rest set to return Saturday night. 
Yavapai County Sheriff's officials said a 7-mile stretch of Highway 89 that had been shut down since Wednesday was reopened in both directions at 4 p.m. Friday. 
About 250 Yarnell residents evacuated by Wednesday night and 30 residents of nearby Peeples Valley evacuated Thursday afternoon when winds fanned the flames. 
One couple returned after spending three nights away from home, as the wildfire came dangerously close. 

“Here we could see all the flames. So it was super fast. And then you’re just kind of rushed, get out of the house, get yourself safe," said Denise Roggio, who could see the flames close to her backyard. 

Incident Commander Alan Sinclair said Peeples Valley residents and Yarnell residents on the west side of town were allowed to return home Friday. Those living on the east side of town closest to the fire were allowed to return Saturday.

That rush to get out is all too familiar for the couple. They evacuated their home three years ago during the tragic Yarnell Hill fire. Then, a fire destroyed nearly 130 homes and killed 19 members of an elite firefighting crew who got caught in the flames.

“It’s very stressful to be displaced but very comforting when you think about what happened last time as opposed to this time. Two totally different fires," Roggio said.

With memories of the destruction caused by the Yarnell Hill fire three years ago still fresh, residents are grateful for fire crews’ efforts.

“[They've] just done an exemplary job of holding this together," said Tom Florence, a Yarnell resident. 

“We’re actually home. I can’t wait to air out the house and sleep in our bed and that kind of thing," Roggio said. 

The end of evacuations has led the Red Cross to shut down the shelter that was set up at Yavapai College to give shelter to those displaced by the fire.
The human-caused fire, which started Wednesday, was 30 percent contained as of Saturday afternoon. Officials credited rain Friday night, higher humidity and direct attack methods for keeping the fire contained to 4,040 acres.
Authorities expect full containment by early next week. It has charred more than 5 square miles, but officials said the flames have been moving northeast and away from populated areas.
No homes have been destroyed, but the fire has burned three structures such as sheds.
Arizona Public Service is working to fix power outages caused by the fire.