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Sonoita community comes together to help during Sawmill Fire

Sonoita Inn giving free rooms to those in need
Posted at 10:42 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 13:18:12-04

The Sawmill Fire is still raging through grasslands in Southern Arizona, moving east toward J-6 which is just a couple miles west of Benson. 

Now, the fire has stretched over 40,000 acres and 600 personnel are working to stop it. 

The Arizona State Forestry Service says the fire is now 20 percent contained. 



Crews have been battling this for four days now. Officials confirm the fire was started by a human but haven't yet released how it sparked up.

As the crews continue to fight the fire, more Southern Arizona residents are seeking shelter and hoping the wind doesn't blow the fire in their direction. 

More than 160 people since the fire started have been evacuated from their home, including the entire community of Rain Valley which is located 10 miles east of Sonoita. 

"They came and said, 'Hey, you gotta get out'" Penny Baker said.

Baker had to leave her home in Rain Valley with her daughter and granddaughter.

They have been moved to a new shelter at the Sonoita Bible Church.

However, many locals have opened their doors as well, like the Sonoita Inn, giving rooms to those in need. 

"It's a no-brainer. We live in a small community, we help each other and it's the thing to do," Cleone Fields said.



More resources have continued to arrive at the fire lines. Wednesday trucks from Phoenix and northern parts of the state showed up to help out. 

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Thursday and Friday which means more high winds for the firefighters to compete with.