Residents allowed to return home as crews gain upper hand in Aquila Fire battle

Arizona State Forestry officials say residents who were evacuated due to a wildfire that is burning north of the Valley can return home.

According to information released by the Arizona State Forestry, the Aquila Fire burned 893 acres of land as of June 26 and it is 100% contained. One primary structure and at least 10 outbuildings are confirmed lost.

An estimated 1,600 people were without power at one point, and more than 200 homes were under evacuation notices, including the Joy Ranch subdivision.

On Tuesday, wind conditions caused the fire to spread, according to officials with Daisy Mountain Fire and Medical. At one point, residents living in the area of I-17 to 19th Avenue, between Cloud Road and Desert Hills Drive, were asked to evacuate.

Arizona State Forestry officials say the cause of the fire is under investigation, but there are multiple possible points of origin discovered. More than 200 firefighters were reportedly involved in battling the blaze at one point.

Area residents react

"My brother actually lives down the road, and his property was in danger and I've been worried about him," said Stan Florez. "I was trying to get him but unfortunately, it was as close as I can get."

Florez was on his way home when he saw a plume of smoke in the area.

"I was on my way home, and the road was closed right here. I saw the fire, and my home is just on the other side of this mountain," said Florez. "Whatever happens, happens. It's material. I'm hoping that lives are saved. my families aren't home right now. I warned my friends up in the hill because they can't see it from this side but they see the smoke, so they're getting prepared."

As flames started ripping toward homes, Sonny Parker’s organization, Arizona Foothills 911, went to work.

Many of the evacuees have horses and livestock and they needed somewhere to go. So, Parker called the mayor of Cave Creek.

"What he said to me was so heartfelt," he said. The mayor helped open the Cave Creek Rodeo Grounds to so many animals, like Teri Hart's horses.

"Got the horses loaded up, had a total of 6, dropped them off and went back to help load up more horses," Hart said.

Parker said animals from pigs to alpacas, to birds llamas, were all wrangled together Tuesday night.