/ Modified jun 28, 2023 11:17 a.m.

Western Hemp Fire burns 1,000 acres on Fort Huachuca

The fire has damaged one of the main power lines to the military installation

Western Hemp Fire An air tanker drops fire retardant on the Western Hemp Fire on Fort Huachuca Tuesday. June 27, 2023. screenshot from Fort Huachuca's Facebook video of the fire, posted at 10:45 a.m.

This story has been updated as of 10:15 a.m. June 28.

The Western Hemp Fire that's burned around 1,098 acres on Fort Huachuca remains at 30% contained according to the fort's spokesperson in an email. Fire crews have been reduced from 109 to 76 on-site, and the West Gate and Canelo Road have re-opened.

Tucson Electric Power and Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative are at Fort Huachuca repairing the damaged electric poles, and the fort expects to return to full electric capability by the end of the day Wednesday.

Fort Huachuca's workforce will be restricted Wednesday to just personnel essential to the fort's mission in order to reduce the strain on the fort's power grid, as the Western Hemp fire has destroyed one of the main power lines to the military installation.

The fire began on Fort Huachuca near Canelo Road and West Hemp Road around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Officials at the Army post said it was started by mowing operations. They also said mowing has been stopped.

The fire caused residents of Huachuca City to be temporarily placed in Set status for evacuations. That has now been downgraded. The Cochise County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that there are no threats to populated areas.

Ready and Set Status for Apache Flats RV park on Fort Huachuca has been rolled back, and residents are being asked to monitor the situation on the Fort’s Facebook page, a spokesperson for Fort Huachuca wrote in an email.

All Morale, Welfare, and Recreation facilities on Fort Huachuca are closed except the Child & Youth Services, Army Community Services, and the Mountain View Golf Course according to the Fort’s spokesperson in an email. As of 1:50 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the fire has burned around 1,000 acres. The Fort's spokesperson said as of 3:52 p.m. that the 180 fire personnel on the scene have stalled forward movement of the flames but the blaze is still at 0% containment.

The Western Hemp fire has destroyed one of the main power lines supplying Fort Huachuca. In a Facebook post, the Fort is asking for residents to conserve power by unplugging unused electronics and adjusting Air Conditioning thermostats to less extreme temperature settings.

Currently, the fort is on backup power, and non-essential personnel were sent home to lessen the load on the backup power. There are no other structural damages or infrastructure damage reported as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Fort's spokesperson said that the fire was sparked by a grass mower's blade that struck a rock and sparked a blaze. The Fort tweeted that all mowing has stopped on the military installation. Resources from Fort Huachuca Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, Bonneville Hotshots, and Sierra Vista Fire and Medical Services are on the scene. Additional resources from Fry Fire Department, Aravaipa Hotshots, and Flagstaff Hotshots are also on the scene.

The Fort posted on Facebook that the U.S. Forest Service provided two tankers and four helicopters to suppress the Western Hemp Fire on Fort Huachuca.

Since 10:40 a.m, all personnel in the area, including the Black Tower, have been evacuated and Canelo Road between the West Gate and Wren Arena are closed.

Horses boarded in the Buffalo Corral Riding Stables were evacuated off the Fort according to a Facebook post by the stables. The stables asked for help from anyone who has a horse trailer to assist in transporting the horses off the fort. At 1 p.m., the Fort posted that all the horses, including Private Mount horses, have been evacuated.

The Tucson office of the National Weather Service tweeted wind gusts for the area are up to 25 miles per hour with a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is at 11%.

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