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Official: Mulberry Fire human-caused

Posted at 3:13 PM, May 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 00:02:44-04

The Mulberry Fire burning in the Empire Mountains southeast of Vail was human-caused, an official said Monday. Public information officer Gerry Perry said the blaze is under investigation.

According to the Department of Forestry and Fire management, the fire size remains at 1,750 acres and is now 100 percent contained. All fire crews will also be reduced by 70% Monday. Perry said.

Twenty homes were ordered evacuated Saturday. However the Pima County Sheriff's Department has now lifted all evacuations.

According to the Department of Forestry and Fire Management, four structures have been burned and the property owners have been notified.

Two of the homes belong to Suzy Schwanz and her family. 

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked her: “What's it like when you're home and the authorities come and say time to go.” Suzy: “That was the scariest thing.  When the Sheriffs roll up and say you've got to go that's a pretty frightening thing and we just wanted to get all our live critters in the car safely and important things out and we figure the rest hopefully will be there when we come back."

And she's had far too much practice at preparing to run from a fire.  She was under a pre-evacuation order for the Sawmill Fire just a few days ago.  In fact she had just unpacked when she had to evacuate for the Mulberry Fire.

Korjal Burhans and her family were among those evacuated Saturday morning. However, it wasn't their first time experiencing something like this -- they were on pre-evacuation status during the Sawmill Fire.

"We were thinking oh my gosh, this is closer than the last one and the wind was blowing this way pretty fast," Burhans said. "So we thought okay, we'll just pack up again."

This time around, she explained her family was mentally prepared to go, and knew what was important to bring along.

"We just got the living stuff, you know, the dogs, the cats, the people, and you know, you leave," she said. "And the rest is just stuff."

Not everyone was as lucky as Burhans. One woman set up a GoFundMe page for her mother-in-law, who's house burned down. 

Pima County Sheriff's Department Bureau Chief Deanna Johnson said everyone who was evacuated cooperated, and no injuries were reported.