Oracle Fire Chief: 'This isn't the last one -- we'll have more' - FOX Carolina 21

Oracle Fire Chief: 'This isn't the last one - we'll have more'

Posted: Updated:
  • Most ReadMost ReadMore>>

  • Updated AZ driver's manual explains traffic stop rules

    Updated AZ driver's manual explains traffic stop rules

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 3:29 PM EDT2017-07-25 19:29:18 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    The latest edition of the Arizona’s Manual will have a new special section on how people should interact with law enforcement. The new chapter has several updated rules, like what drivers

    More >

    The latest edition of the Arizona’s Manual will have a new special section on how people should interact with law enforcement. The new chapter has several updated rules, like what drivers should do when a law enforcement vehicle pulls up behind them with the lights on. Drivers should roll down the window, turn off

    More >
  • Camp for homeless veterans damaged by monsoon storms

    Camp for homeless veterans damaged by monsoon storms

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 12:04 PM EDT2017-07-25 16:04:16 GMT
    One of the collapsed tents at Camp Bravo. (Source: Tucson News Now)One of the collapsed tents at Camp Bravo. (Source: Tucson News Now)

    The storm swept through the camp, taking down four tents, knocking over a refrigerator and leaving the camp without power. Volunteers said this is the worst damage they've ever seen. 

    More >

    The storm swept through the camp, taking down four tents, knocking over a refrigerator and leaving the camp without power. Volunteers said this is the worst damage they've ever seen. 

    More >
  • Teen livestreamed crash that killed her sister

    Teen livestreamed crash that killed her sister

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 1:22 AM EDT2017-07-25 05:22:29 GMT

    Obdulia Sanchez was under the influence and livestreaming on Instagram when she rolled her car over into a barbed-wire fence and then a field. The crash killed her 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline.

    More >

    Obdulia Sanchez was under the influence and livestreaming on Instagram when she rolled her car over into a barbed-wire fence and then a field. The crash killed her 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline.

    More >
ORACLE, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

One day after a wildfire ripped through Oracle, scorching several structures and wiping out one family's home, fire officials say now is the perfect opportunity to stress the importance of defensible space. 

Thursday's fire charred at least 20 acres of dense vegetation across Oracle.

And while multiple homes were threatened, flames ran out of fuel as they encroached upon properties previously prepared for wildfire.

Unfortunately, the retirement home of Barbara and Ron Chatham was not one of them.

"The flames were about three or four feet high and they were already at the back patio wall right there," Ron Chatham said as he looked over the rubble that was once his two-story home.

"I just yelled up at her," Chatham said. "I said, ‘Get downstairs. Grab one of the dogs, I'll grab the other -- let's get the hell out of here.'"

Authorities say the fire started on a property just to the west of the Chatham's as neighbors were outside staining furniture.  We're told a rag soaked in linseed oil somehow ignited and started a brush fire. 

Within seconds the fire exploded over 20 acres, charring everything in its path, with the exception of several properties that had previously been cleared of debris and underbrush.

"Our trees have lost their leaves, they're struggling, they're dying," said Larry Southard, Chief of Oracle Fire Department. "The conditions are perfect for fire."

As we know, it's been unseasonably hot this year.  And considering we didn't have much of a winter, densely vegetated communities like Oracle are at even greater risk.

"This isn't the last one. We'll have more here," Southard said.

At 4,500 feet, Oracle is lush with trees and grasses not present just a few miles to the south.

That's why the town's fire chief can't stress enough the importance of defensible space around every property.

"People move here because they want the oaks, they want the Manzanitas - and they're beautiful," Southard said. "But at the same time, there's a balance between protecting your house."

To illustrate the point, the house immediately next to the Chatham's did not burn. The fire's path is evident, but the house survived.

"It went completely around this house ... and went to the house behind it," Southard said.

Instead, the fire went to the house surrounded by thick brush and vegetation.

It was the only house lost in Oracle yesterday.

Chatham wants others to benefit from the lesson he learned the hard way.

"People around here, knock down all your dead brush," Ron Chatham said.  "That's all I can say."

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
Fox Carolina
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, WHNS; Greenville, SC. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.