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Rain raises hopes at Sonoita wildfire

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 23:24:04-04

About 1:30 p.m. this afternoon, the wind picked up, and the rain came down. An answer to a prayer just moments before the afternoon briefing for the Los Encinos Fire.

"We just pray oh Lord that you might bring rain and blow it away like You did the last time here."

Nearby, charred fields show the power of the fire that forced evacuations for about 120 homes. 

Power Line crews worked to repair lines wrecked when the fire swept through.

At the Fairgrounds in Sonoita, Ann Alden cared for the horses she moved to safety, past fields of fire last night.  

"That's on the west side of that house as I'm driving out on Apache Trail on the south end of it just north of Toledo and then on the right side is where the house is being built."

Now she is moving the horse to a friend's house. But management at the fairgrounds is putting out a plea for donations of feed to help care for other evacuated animals still in the stables there.

The fairgrounds is the staging area for the roughly 250 firefighters assigned to the fire by late morning.

One crew came about 170 miles from Globe to fight the fire here. This is their second fight in Sonoita this season. 

Firefighters worked fast, but the fire still had a chance to rush through, blacken the land, destroy homes and damage power lines.They have worked to let people know if their homes are damaged or destroyed.

Jim Bucher tried some of his own firefighting until the fire convinced him to stop.

"There were three of us with hoses trying to knock it down in the grass and then all of a sudden there was like a microburst and the sky was orange, and a lot of sparks and I said, I'm out of here." 

But he's been able to confirm his home is okay.

Fires have hit this area hard, and the danger stays strong until the monsoon rains settle in.