Shipman Fire is 50 percent contained - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side


Shipman Fire is 50 percent contained

"Shipman Fire" near Kearny. (Source:  James Ruiz) "Shipman Fire" near Kearny. (Source: James Ruiz)
Kearny lost power at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday. (Source: Billy Schneider) Kearny lost power at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday. (Source: Billy Schneider)
The fire is burning through at least 300 acres. (Source: Billy Schneider) The fire is burning through at least 300 acres. (Source: Billy Schneider)

A lightning-caused wildfire in the small Arizona town of Kearny is approximately 50 percent contained, and is expected to be fully contained by midnight Friday, according to fire officials.

Evacuations have been lifted for most residents in the area, and the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter said they've closed the shelter that was set up at Ray Elementary School in Kearny.

The blaze was sparked Monday about 73 miles southeast of Phoenix, and grew to about 518 acres.

Carrie Dennett, of the Arizona State Forestry Division, says one home burned on the outskirts of Kearny, but firefighters had stopped the blaze's progression.

It's being fought with multiple resources, including 185 personnel, six engines, heavy air tankers and a bulldozer, officials said. Incident Management expects the lightning-caused blaze to be contained by Friday.

Trued said the estimated cost of the fire is at $144,274.

On Wednesday, firefighters focused on locating and extinguishing hotspots around the fire perimeter, and were supported with water drops from helicopters as needed, Eastern Arizona Incident Management Team spokeswoman Jonetta Trued said.

The evacuations affected residents in the Stevens Mobile Home Park.

"We live in the 300 block of Greenwich, and a lot of our neighbors were packing up and getting ready to go, just in case," said Kearny resident Angela Ramirez. 

Power has been restored to Kearny, Hayden and Winkelman, after an outage that started at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday, Pinal County Emergency Management officials said.  

Salt River Project had to de-energize a power line that runs to the Arizona Public Service Kearny substation. That substation was forced to shut down, knocking out power to all three towns. 

The Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross said about 25 people were at a shelter set up in the multipurpose room of Ray Elementary School early Tuesday morning.

Red Cross volunteers set up cots and blankets about 3:15 a.m. and served breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks, coffee and water throughout the day. Nurses and mental health volunteers were also available.

Pinal County Animal Care & Control is mobilizing its emergency response trailer, which includes kennel space for dogs and cats, whose owners may be seeking shelter. Neighboring ranchers are caring for livestock affected by the fire or smoke.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials said the wildfire closed five miles of State Route 177 near Kearny, a town of about 3,000 people.

Pinal County Public Health officials recommend that people who have respiratory difficulty, asthma or other lung conditions remain indoors, and take every effort possible to avoid the smoke.

People with swamp coolers should limit their use to avoid bringing smoky air into their homes, or businesses.

If you were impacted by the fire and in need of help by the Red Cross, you can call 1-800-842-7349.

Stay with and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.

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Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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