Firefighters get help from Monsoon rain
CREATED Jun. 28, 2012
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - About one thousand acres on the Whetstone Mountains near Benson are still burning, but firefighters had help from Monsoon rain Thursday evening. For about an hour, precipitation doused the wildfire, allowing crews to pack up for the night. They plan to return first thing in the morning.
One nearby resident will most likely wake up with them. When the fire started Monday, his front lawn transformed into the home-base for fire-fighting air operations.
Jack Post has lived near the mountains for 20 years, and saw flames shortly after a lightning strike ignited the dry vegetation just miles from his home Monday.
"Next thing you know they was all out here fighting a fire," he said.
From his front porch, he watches chopper after chopper lift off with hundreds of gallons of water to douse the flames. Planes fly overhead with retardant to stop the fire from spreading.
Post says he's seen it all before and isn't worried about his home. He created a grass-free barrier. Other nearby residents, however, fear for their property.
"I'm really really concerned," said Mindii Carrillo, "I'm scared to death actually."
She lives three miles from the fire but she knows how quickly that can change.
Firefighters still aren't calling the blaze contained, but incident commander Mark South says it isn't threatening any structures.
"I wouldn't be concerned with it coming into their backyard," he said, "As a resident though, you have a challenge then to be sure that you've cleaned around your house so it is fire-wise so we don't have to go and mitigate anything around your house."
A total of 200 firefighters from seven crews, some as far away as the Pacific Northwest are fighting the Cottonwood Fire. They will continue with the same personnel to keep fire from spreading to Hwy 90 and developed areas.