Residents have been cleared to return to their homes at 3 p.m. after the Aquila Fire destroyed one home and several structures Tuesday night.
Firefighters stopped forward progress on #AquilaFire, NE of I-17 & Carefree Highway. Fire GPS’d at 893 acres. One confirmed primary structure lost, multiple secondary buildings destroyed. Fire under investigation; multiple possible points of origin discovered. #AZFire #AZForestry pic.twitter.com/cKOB997S0u— AZ State Forestry (@azstateforestry) June 24, 2020
State Forestry officials say the fire started around 2:30 p.m. near 27th Avenue and the Carefree Highway. Crews say the flames burned through a wash and heavy vegetation and spread to a residential area destroying one home and at least three other structures.
Windy conditions Tuesday helped the fire quickly spread to approximately 893 acres in size.
At the peak Tuesday afternoon, Arizona State Forestry said more than 200 homes were evacuated and as of Wednsday afternoon the fire is 50% contained.
Amber Laporte and her family were among the group that had to pack up and head to a Red Cross shelter set up nearby.
”The fire looked like it kept moving towards us,” said Laporte. “It's nerve-racking. Everyone wants to be at home.”
One family tragically lost their entire home. The fire consumed every room and left nothing but ash and rubble.
The flames nearly claimed many more homes but those on the front lines were able to save nearly all of them.
“There is a lot of respect for these guys. They are not doing an easy job. It's very dangerous,” said Amy Kollet. “And it’s scary, but they go and do it anyway.”
While the firefighters will always be there to respond, Laporte has a message for others.
“Quit starting damn fires. We live in Arizona and this is a kindle yard out here,” said Laporte.
Firefighters say the cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Aquila Fire is just one of several fires in Arizona this week.
The Bush Fire is burning northeast of the Valley and is now the largest fire burning in the country, according to geographical data.
The Mangum Fire has grown to 71,043 acres as of Tuesday. The wildfire was first reported on June 8 at Mangum Springs.
The Bighorn Fire is also burning in southern Arizona.