Crews battle first major wildfire of 2017

Crews in Southern Arizona are battling the first major wildfire of 2017.

As of Monday afternoon, the Sawmill Fire has forced firefighters to evacuate some 100 homes. The fire, which is burning south of Tucson, is growing fast, and erratic winds are making things tough for fire crews.

According to InciWeb, the fire has burned 7,500 acres of land as of 4:23 p.m. Monday, and it is 7 percent contained. 200 personnel are battling the fire.

One of the people affected by evacuations is the chief of the Green Valley Fire District. Chuck Wunder. He was being briefed about the fire on Sunday, when he realized that strong winds were pushing the flames right in the path of his ranch, where his family was.

"I had been on the phone telling them we had to go," said Wunder, in a phone interview. "I quickly sped through the ranch and told them we were going to have to expedite off the ranch."

Over the phone, Wunder described the terrifying moments.

"I watched my wife and my daughter in two separate vehicles," said Wunder. "They were taking my nieces and nephews, as well as my kids off the ranch, and I watched the fire literally go over the top of their vehicles."

Wunder said the experience was "a little terrifying an humbling."

"I've been doing this business for a while and you know that it's a possibility as you're trying to evacuate your own family -- it certainly gives you a second to pause -- and gain a little bit of perspective," said Wunder.

As for Wunder's ranch, it reportedly sustained minor damage.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories