Doce Fire evacuee shares his experience

June 20, 2013

A fire burning west of Prescott has charred 6,732 acres, so far.  Firefighters say the blaze, which is 0 percent contained, has forced the evacuation of some 460 homes.  One of those homes is owned by John Sears.

Doce Fire The Doce Fire burning near Williamson Valley Road on June 18. (Photo courtesy of InciWeb)

LAMBERT: Tell us about evacuating your home.  How did you get the notice and what instructions did you get?

SEARS: It was really chaotic. On Tuesday afternoon, we could see smoke coming. We live on the east side of Granite Mountain, right up against the National Forest boundary. And, it became pretty clear by late afternoon that the fire had come from the other side of the mountain, up through the pass, and was heading towards us. We decide we needed on our own to get our horses and animals out. By the time I got back home, the evacuation order had come down and people were running around. There were fire and law enforcement people everywhere. Remarkably, friends of ours had just shown up to see if we needed help. So, we had a team of people helping us just grab things out of the house and throw them in trucks.

LAMBERT: How tough is it to not know the status of your home?

SEARS: It’s very difficult, Dennis. One of the interesting things is that we have an answering machine, sort of an old school landline answering machine. We are able to call it. We decided that either meant that our house was still there or we had the world’s most indestructible answering machine. It’s still there this morning and they keep reporting that there are no structures damaged so far, but we have to see what today brings.

LAMBERT: What are you being told about going back?

SEARS: The Incident Commander has said, now several times in press conferences, that this is not going to be over in a day or two. The fire is very active. I am looking right at the mountain now. I am on my way out to feed our horses. The fire was like this yesterday morning, but when the winds kicked up in the afternoon it got very active again. He said the evacuation orders have to be lifted before anyone is allowed back in. They [were] talking overnight about possibly extending some of the evacuation areas because the fire may start moving northward towards other subdivisions.

LAMBERT: Well John, thank you for joining us this morning.

SEARS: You’re welcome. Take care.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Editor's Note: We had reported that 7,500 acres were burned, according to a report by the Associated Press. 6,732 acres were reported as burned Friday morning, according to the Southwest Area Incident Management Team. The text was changed to acknowledge the new number. Updated at 1:35 p.m 6/21/13.

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