KGUN 9NewsWildfire Watch


Fire crews work to preserve San Rafael Conservation area

Sonoita Elgin Fire District
Posted at 6:07 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 21:07:14-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Over the weekend, fire crews from Southern Arizona worked to save several historic structures, as they battled the San Rafael fire.

"If you've ever been on the front lines of wildfire, it's hot, it's loud. It's bright, because of the flames. It's smoky," Marc Meredith, Chief at Sonoita-Elgin Fire District said. "And they jumped out, they grabbed their hand tools, they got their real line off the back of the engine and they went to work."

With dangerous conditions, working ahead of the fire to prevent it from spreading further, is no easy task.

"In this particular case, I involved our crew making sure that fuels can be removed in that included doing burner operations using hand tools, using the water for suppression," Meredith said. "But really anything you can do to reduce the fire intensity, or cool the structure or both."

Some of those buildings are in the San Rafael Natural Conservation area with several historic landmarks throughout the area.

"Wind propels fire very rapidly and with the hot dry conditions, the abundant dry fuels," Meredith said. "Its intensity is remarkable and it's much harder to do that if you didn't have any around or if the field wasn't as dry, or the conditions weren't as hot and lack of humidity and we have all of these things simultaneously."

Several local fire crews in Southern Arizona are assisting in the San Rafael fire. Whether it be from containing the wildfire or working ahead to get rid of all of the dry brush.

Denelle Veselik is an anchor and investigative reporter for KGUN 9. It's been her dream to tell your stories for the past decade. She is extremely curious and wants to continue to use her storytelling for the greater good. Share your story ideas and important issues with Denelle by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, and Twitter.