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Monument Fire: Evacuation ordered north of Ramsey Canyon
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Monument Fire: Evacuation ordered north of Ramsey Canyon

Overnight burnouts slow wildfire's spread, 40% contained

  • Crews battle the Monument Fire during the weekend.
    Northern Rockies IMTCrews battle the Monument Fire during the weekend.
  • Nick's Place burns Sunday.
    courtesy Jason Jen KudlaNick's Place burns Sunday.
  • Fire damage in the Nicksville area around 4 p.m. Sunday.
    courtesy Pat CallFire damage in the Nicksville area around 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office has ordered a mandatory evacuation west of State Route 92 and north of Ramsey Canyon, as burnouts to halt the spread of the Monument Fire will continue Tuesday night.

Residents who live in the area, bounded by Kachina Road on the north and Fort Huachuca on the west, must leave their homes by 6 p.m., authorities said.

The order is a precaution as burnouts will continue Tuesday night in the Ramsey Canyon area, including around a number of individual homes, fire managers said.

The controlled burns are being conducted to remove fuel and stop the spread of the Monument Fire, the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team said.

A fire information meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Buena Performing Arts Center, 5225 Buena School Blvd. in Sierra Vista.

Crews burned areas in the path of the Monument Fire on Monday night, removing fuel from wildfire's front.

A quarter to half-mile wide strip west of S.R. 92 was deliberately burned to give the blaze nowhere to advance.

After high winds pushed the fire into the grassy flatlands southeast of Sierra Vista on Sunday, a calmer Monday gave crews a chance to get ahead of the flames.

The wildfire stood at 27,190 acres burned, with 40 percent containment Tuesday morning. Monday, it had burned 26,980 acres, and was 27 percent.

Tuesday, crews will prepare for overnight planned burns to stop the flames from moving into Ramsey Canyon.

"This operation will remove fuel between the fire and the communities to the east," the fire's management team said in a press release.

"Weather is predicted to be favorable for firefighters to 'herd' the fire over the next few days with a low intensity backing fire which is the best alternative for minimizing damage to wildlife habitat," they said.

The Cochise County Sheriff's Office said Monday that some 61 homes and 4 businesses have been damaged or destroyed. Sunday, 14 of those homes and all 4 businesses were burned.

Gov. Jan Brewer ordered 90 National Guard troops to assist with security in evacuated areas.

Residents in Ash and Stump canyons can arrange a visit to see their fire-damaged homes.

Some of the 10,000 residents evacuated because of the Monument Fire will be allowed to go back to their homes, authorities said.

Residents in the areas where evacuees may return must sign for a re-entry permit.

Permits will be available Monday from 3-9 p.m. and Tuesday noon-9 p.m. at the Palominas Fire Station, 9695 E. Highway 92.

Because roadblocks on S.R. 92 are not being lifted, residents must reach the fire station, at Milepost 338, by traveling through Bisbee.

Personal vehicles are not allowed beyond law enforcement roadblocks in the area

The fire danger remains extreme because of the exceptionally dry conditions, authorities cautioned.

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