Yuma, Arizona - On Thursday, just before 4:30 pm, smoke was reported in the East Wetlands area. Arriving Yuma Fire Department personnel found heavy smoke rising from the brush about a half mile southeast of the Territorial Prison. A YFD Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) outfitted to be used in wildland areas was used to transport firefighters to the fire scene.
The fire was burning in an area of grass and piles of brush. Over the next 2-3 hours firefighters using shovels and other hand tools were able to contain the fire to approximately 3 acres.
Shortly after firefighting operations had begun, Prison Hill Road had to be closed due to traffic congestion hampering emergency vehicle response and remained closed for about 2 hours. Additional wildland firefighting personnel and equipment arrived from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFW), to aid in containing the fire and as a precaution if the fire were to begin spreading faster.
The fire was determined to be the jurisdiction of BLM. Once the fire was considered contained, command was transferred from YFD to BLM and YFD personnel were released to return to normal duties. Quechan Police and Yuma Police Departments provided traffic control, with the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office also on scene. Personnel from the Yuma Crossing Heritage Area were also able to provide assistance by opening irrigation valves that would over a period of hours soak the general area of the fire.
BLM and USFW remained to deal with hotspots and monitor the fire scene. The cause of the fire is not known, and this area was the scene of a previous fire within the last year. Yuma is fortunate to have organizations that cooperate and work so well together!