Lizard Fire officials not accepting food, water donations - Tucson News Now

Lizard Fire officials not accepting food, water donations

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

It was a better day than expected on Sunday, June 11, for firefighters battling the Lizard Fire burning in the Dragoon Mountains east of Benson, according to fire officials.

Sunday marked Day 5 since a reported lightning strike started the blaze on Wednesday, June 7.

Lizard Fire public information officer Gerry Perry said Sunday’s windy weather didn’t have “significant effect” on fire behavior. However, the fight is far from over with only 5 percent of the fire contained.

Federal, state, and local agencies held a community meeting today to inform people who live nearby about the Lizard Fire’s progress. Nearly 200 people packed the Sunsites Community Center, the gateway community to Cochise Stronghold. It’s about 20 miles southeast of Dragoon.

The mood was mostly positive as many asked what they could do to help.

“This is a great turnout. People seem to be very positive and appreciative,” said Mark Spencer, whose house is surrounded by grasslands.

One woman asked if she could bring baked goods and water to the firefighters.

Mike Reichling, one of the Lizard Fire public information officers said they appreciate people trying to donate, but won’t accept any items.

“No because we have to make sure the goods that we get are from sources that we know,” Reichling said. “That’s why we contract all our food. It’s inspected. You can imagine, if one person gets sick, how that could affect the whole 350 personnel.”

He said they “just don’t have the staff to manage the donations.”

Officials at the meeting suggested instead, people can donate money to the Red Cross so they can get resources that way or make signs and hang them around the area to show appreciation.

“Firefighters love signs. There’s nothing like being up for a 12-hour shift or coming off the line and seeing a sign thanking firefighters for what they’ve done.”

Other advice officials gave suggested having residents leaving their gates unlocked so firefighters can gain access if needed. If officials order an evacuation, they ask for people to get out as quickly as possible. Don’t worry about turning off gas or lights.

Other comments and questions were directed towards communication. A few people wanted to clearer instructions and explanation of timeliness of evacuations.

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