Crown King area blaze grows to nearly 8,500 acres as residents remain evacuated

Arizona News

Multiple homes in the Crown King-area remain under evacuation Saturday as the Horse Fire measured at nearly 8,500 acres Saturday.

The blaze is burning about 7 miles northwest of Crown King in Yavapai County, which is located about 85 miles north of Phoenix. 

Air support — including air tankers and helicopters — and additional ground support are working to put out the fire, according to Prescott National Forest spokesperson Ansgar Mitchell.

The wildfire was burning in “a remote section of the forest with steep rugged terrain,” according to a statement released Saturday by the Prescott National Forest. Firefighters have observed “extreme fire behavior” with the fire making “uphill runs.”

Mitchell said the inaccessible terrain, lack of monsoonal moisture and dry conditions have contributed to challenges in fighting the fire.

High temperatures on Saturday were forecasted to range from 84 to 86 degrees with minimum relative humidity from 11% to 13%, according to the statement. Winds from the west were expected to be around 10 mph with gusts up to 20 mph, which could make fire suppression efforts tricky. 

Smoke from the Horse Fire burning northwest of the community of Crown King causes the sun to appear red on Oct. 16, 2020. The residents of Crown King were forced to evacuate the morning of the 16th as the fire grew larger.

Residents in Minnehaha, Horsethief Cabins and private properties in and around the fire area have remained under evacuation Saturday.

Crown King has about 100 full-time residents and 350 structures in the immediate and surrounding area, including scattered outbuildings and infrastructure like communication towers, according to Mitchell.

Most residents have left, but Mitchell said some chose to stay.

Roads leading into the area — including Goodwin Street, Senator Highway at Palace Station, County Road 59 from Cleator and Wagoner at Hozoni Rach Road — have been closed. 

A shelter for residents has been set up at Mayer High School, 17300 E. Mule Deer Rd. in Spring Valley.

Officials are asking people to avoid the area to allow fire resources to travel safely to and throughout the location. Also, the statement said a forest closure order can be expected for the trails and roads in and around the fire area. 

For more information, monitor the Prescott National Forest Twitter account or Facebook page or call 928-925-1111. 

Reach the reporter at madeline.ackley@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @Mkayackley.

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