Lizard Fire forces families out of their homes - Tucson News Now

Lizard Fire forces families out of their homes

Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
COCHISE COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Wildland fire crews have made progress on the Lizard Fire, gaining five percent containment on Saturday. Overnight, the fire grew to more than 10,000 acres. It is burning in the Dragoon Mountains, near Benson. Lighting sparked the blaze.

The winds have been especially challenging for fire crews. Fire officials said the strong gusts drove the fire toward high-voltage power lines, which increased the danger for firefighters. But fire crews were successful in protecting the threatened homes.

“Flames all the way down and hitting the ground and I knew that was danger,” said Elaine Montesinos, who was evacuated from the Lizard fire.

On Saturday morning, the Lizard Fire came rushing down the mountain right toward Montesinos' home, just as police knocked on her door and told her and her husband to evacuate.

“He said that’s it, you’re going to have to go,” Montesinos said.

Scrambling, she had just minutes to grab their medications, pictures and some clothes.

“Scary, because you cannot in your mind think what do I take? What’s most important what don’t I need right this moment,” Montesinos said.

But then a few hours later, there was a sigh of relief as officials opened up Dragoon Road and allowed the Montesinos to return.

“He gave us the thumbs up,” Montesinos said.

Montesinos saw the burn scar nearby, as a sign of how close the fire came to her property, with a haze of smoke blanketing the sky. Firefighters focused on trying to slow the fire's progression, while facing challenging terrain.

“It’s very rugged and rocky. Steep county so to put crews in this portion of the fire is not safe for us,” Craig Daugherty, Operations-Section Chief said.

As for Montesinos, she plans to keep her bags packed and a close eye on her backyard, just in case the wind shifts and she has to get out, again.

“I’m just going to open that door and I’m just going to run. Everything else can be replaced but your life can’t and your family and everything,” Montesinos said.

There is a Red Cross Shelter open for evacuees at the Valley Union High School at 4088 E Jefferson Road, Elfrida, Arizona. For more information, call the Cochise Emergency Operations Center at 520-432-9820.

On Sunday June 11, a community meeting will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Sunsites Community Center, 1216 Treasure Road, Sunsites.

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