KNAU and Arizona News
8:51 am
Mon June 21, 2010

Schultz Fire forces hundreds to evacuate

Flagstaff, AZ – Coconino County law enforcement is responsible for evacuating areas because of wildfire. Sheriff Bill Pribl says it's sometimes a challenge to convince people to leave their homes behind.

"We do have a number of people who'd prefer to stay with their home, and ride it out to see if in fact the fire will threaten their homes, and so we make note of those residences where people are staying so we can keep checking on them. Sadly, if the fire were to overrun, at least we'd know where to start looking."

Dennis Gill is with Coconino County search and rescue. He estimates he knocked on 60 doors yesterday telling people to evacuate.

"Most of them already had their stuff ready in their vehicles, and were waiting for us to tell them to leave."

Gill also says he can't force people to leave. But he says if homeowners wait until they see flames, it may be too late.

"When the flames start coming in, they're moving fast, and if you're seeing the flames, then you're in heavy smoke, so now you're in danger of smoke, trying to drive out with poor visibility, and it's just a dangerous situation."

Gill says the Sheriff's department can help people evacuate who need assistance.