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As Tenderfoot Fire Grows To 3,300 Acres, Yarnell Residents Hope It Continues Moving Away From Homes
Residents from the tiny communities of Yarnell and Peeples Valley remain evacuated as the Tenderfoot Fire has grown to about 3,300 acres.
The wildfire has been burning since Wednesday near the tiny Yavapai County communites southwest of Prescott National Forest. People in Yarnell were asked to leave their homes Wednesday, and on Thursday some of the residents of nearby Peeples Valley had to evacuate, as well.
Fire officials say that although the blaze is growing, it’s continuing to move farther away from homes.
Still, resident John Knight said it’s scary to watch the smoke and flames from afar.
"We’re just trying to stay in this house. We living out here, and hopefully it won’t go across the freeway. That’s all we’re wishing right now," said Knight.
Almost exactly three years ago, this area was devastated by the Yarnell Hill Fire, which 19 members of the elite Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighter team.
Dana Howe is a Yarnell resident whose home was spared in the fire three years ago. He and his wife have been the Red Cross Shelter since Wednesday.
"We want to get home. I mean the Red Cross has been awful good to us, but there’s nothing like your own bed," said Howe.
Alan Sinclair is the new incident commander. He said his team is trying to suppress the fire as it moves into rugged terrain.
"And sometimes when you’re suppressing fire, you’ve got to wait to take action, because you have to have a good plan. We’re not going to go out there and chase it. We’re going to look for strategic locations, where it’s safe to engage the fire," said Sinclair.
The area’s main road, U.S. Highway 89, has been closed since Wednesday and will not open until at least sometime Friday.