The Heartstrong Fire in Yuma County is 100 percent contained and the evacuation order has been lifted for the entire burn area.
There are still identified hotspots that are being managed. This information was confirmed after Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day was able to evaluate the fire damage from the air, Monday morning, March 19. The total confirmed burn area is 24,000 acres, 38 square miles.
There were two homes that were a complete loss. The residents who lost their homes to this fire were Florence Pletcher, whose home is located at Yuma County Road 31 and Road M, and Dwaine and Lucy Eastin, whose home is located at Yuma County Road 26 and Road M.
There is not any confirmed information on the total cost of this fire. The residents are still trying to assess their livestock and damage to fields. According to Sheriff Day, the biggest cost will likely be due to crops lost and loss of and damage to topsoil. There will likely be significant damage to engines and farm equipment due to the mixture of thick smoke and dirt being blown by the strong winds.
Sheriff Day stressed his gratitude to the volunteer firefighters and all of the entities and organizations that assisted in this fire fight. He confirmed that there were nine volunteer fire departments that had actively fought the fire, and four on standby that ended up fighting two other fires in other areas in the county at the same time. Sheriff Day also mentioned that there were countless farmers, neighbors, and friends who put themselves in harm’s way to help the residents in the fire's path.
Two of the three firefighters that were injured in the blaze are still in the hospital and appear to have more serious injuries than originally reported. Sheriff Day will be contacting those heroes and their families before he will be willing to release their identity or the extent of their injuries.
The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation; however, it is believed to be a result of an electrical spark of some kind.