Strong winds have made it difficult for firefighters to get Arizona’s Sawmill wildfire under control. Residents of the small town Sonoita have been ordered to evacuate as the fire burns through the Santa Rita Mountains. “As we were evacuating, the fire jumped the road right as my family was crossing,” Green Valley Fire District Chief Chuck Wunder told KGUN.
About 300 fire personnel are battling the fire, which was 7 percent contained as of yesterday afternoon; those said 300 includes five hotshot crews, 20 fire engines, five air tankers and three helicopters. Winds were gusting at up to 45 mph with low humidity and another round of strong winds is expected with a new storm on Friday, although no rain is expected.
The Green Valley area has seen only about 25% of its average precipitation since February 1st and along with the low humidity have created the perfect the “perfect” conditions for a wildfire. “It only takes a cigarette flicked out of a moving vehicle” to start a fire in such weather, says a Green Valley Fire Department spokesperson. (Another great reason not to smoke cigarettes!)