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Sonoita-Elgin Fire District

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Fire/EMS Stats

2018

APRIL

MVC 3
Medical 22
Wildfire 4
Structure Fire 0
Vehicle Fire 0
Public Assist 2
Burn Permit 0
Hazmat 1
TOTAL 32

Sonoita-Elgin Fire Season – 2017

Over the past few months the Sonoita-Elgin area has been experiencing a lot of wind-driven wildfires, some small and some large. There have been a few questions asked about tactics used to fight the fires…this is not an easy question to answer in print. First, I would like to state the Sonoita-Elgin Fire is a suppression Department; our objectives are to protect lives, structures, and grasslands.
Sonoita-Elgin (& SEESI) has, for the past few decades, used an Anchor and Flank Method. This is where we start at the heel of the fire (the origin) and flank both sides of the fire, suppressing the fire as we move toward the head. This is the most effective method on most fires. If you approach a fire from the head you still have two active flanks coming up the sides, this in turn will leave you with two fires heading in two different directions. There are times you may see us ahead of the fire setting a back burn or pre-wetting off a road or drainage etc., as was used on the Kellogg Fire. The complications that arose during the Kellogg Fire were too much smoke and heat. Our units could not see but a few feet in front of themselves, making it extremely difficult to virtually impossible to use this technique with the winds (as we have all experienced recently) pushing our fires.
The U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Arizona Department of Forestry & Fire management do not do structure protection. They will try to ring fire around homes if they have ample time. Sonoita-Elgin Fire will protect structures as long as the structures are defensible, and we have the equipment to do so. Wildland trucks carry 300 gallons of water and a 65 gallon per minute pump; a structure engine carries 1000 gallons of water and a 750-1200 gallon per minute pump. It is very hard to protect a structure with a brush truck. And, if we leave the station to suppress a grass fire (taking wildland equipment) and it runs on to structures it’s harder to protect them. So a lot of the time we will back out until the fire passes then we go back in and reassess. Most structures (homes) burn down after the fire passes, outbuildings will burn as the fire front passes – which is why being FireWise pays off. (Most outbuilding do not have doors [embers can get inside] or are not well kept up. Fire gets drawn into a building that has easy avenues for air movement. Tall grasses, weeds, trees and shrubs against structures create pockets of fuel that can be dangerous.)
Sonoita-Elgin Fire District is asking all property owners – homeowners and ranchers – to continue to FireWise their properties – this is not simply protecting your land and structures, it is helping your neighbors. We are a ranching community and these folks make their living with the grassland we all enjoy. The ranchers cooperation is as vital to help prepare their lands around areas were grasslands could be a threat to other structures.

Heroes Wanted

Disaster Preparedness at Your Fingertips

Take the first step toward emergency preparedness by downloading the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app.

Did you know your smartphone can be an important tool to help you prepare?

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SONOITA-ELGIN FIRE DISTRICT

3173 AZ-83
Sonoita, AZ 85637
(520) 455-5854
sefd911@sefd911.org

(Click Here for Directions)