Cellar Fire Grows To Just Over 7,200 Acres

By Grayson Schmidt
Published: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 1:49pm
The Aravaipa Crew fighting the Cellar Fire on July 16, 2019.

As of Friday afternoon, the Cellar Fire 16 miles south of Prescott is zero percent contained, according to the Southwest Area Incident Management Team.

The fire, which originated from a lightning strike Sunday, is just over 7,200 acres and currently has just under 370 firefighters from 7 hotshot crews battling the blaze.

Southwest Area Management Team spokesperson Debbie Maneely said the dry conditions, high temperatures, high winds and rough terrain have made this fire particularly problematic.

“These firefighters are having to hike up in here, so it's a slow process,” Maneely said. “We're taking a time. Firefighter safety is our No. 1 priority, and we're going to hopefully make some progress today and give up over to that North End.”

According to Maneely, the fire remained active overnight due to low humidity and was expected to increase throughout the day Friday.

The fire also resulted in the evacuation of the community of Pine Flat on Thursday. An evacuation center is currently set up at Prescott High School.

According to Arizona Red Cross Regional Communications Officer Colin Williams, just under 30 people were evacuated from Pine Flat, but none of those residents stayed in the evacuation center overnight. Though Williams said he does not have a definitive timeline, the site will remain open for as long as there is an evacuation order in place.

But even with a lift on the evacuation for Pine Flat, Williams said the site will most likely stay open as long as the fire continues to spread.

“We're just going to remain in a leaning-forward posture because this is still an ongoing incident,” Williams said. “It may clear this one neighborhood, but it may affect other areas over the weekend.”

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