July 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – ECM has received an eyewitness account from a former East County resident, Pamela Lopez-Davies, of the early hours of the Doce Fire, which claimed the lives of 19 firefighters in Yarnell, Arizona, including 18 from the Granite Mountain Fire Department’s hotshot team. The fire began on June 18 and as of today has scorched 8,277 acres. The blaze is 80% contained.
“While driving to Chino Valley, AZ at about 11:30 am on Tuesday June 18, I noticed a small plume of smoke in the vicinity of Granite Mountain,” said Lopez-Davies, who snapped these photos near her home in Prescott, Arizona.
Two hours later, she reported, “the air was smoky, windy, and ash-filled. The “Doce Fire” grew from 200 to 5000 acres in a few short hours.”
Lopez-Davies , who sent this information before the tragic loss of life occurred, gave a poignant description of the landscape lost.
“Granite Mountain is a prominent feature in the Prescott landscape – a favorite hiking spot with a number of trails, a spectacular view from the top of the surrounding countryside, and dotted with rocks and vegetation, including pine trees. To the north of the mountain lie the communities of Williamson Valley, American Ranch, and Mint Creek Ranch, where many large horse ranches thrive.”
She added, “Those who live in the shadow of Granite Mountain consider themselves very lucky; now they fear for the safety of their properties and animals. Most of the horses have been evacuated to the Rodeo Grounds near downtown Prescott, and the people to reside with family or friends until they can return.”
For an update on the Doce and other Arizona Fires, as well as a link for official donations to help the families of firefighters who lost their lives in this blaze, see: http://www.azein.gov/azein/Lists/Announcements/BulletinDetails.aspx