PRESCOTT VALLEY — With conditions worsening for the Goodwin Fire, Gov. Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency in Yavapai County on Wednesday.
The fire had grown to 21,000 acres and burned at least some structures in its widening path, officials said earlier in the day.
It remained too dangerous to assess the damage, which was growing Wednesday afternoon as winds in the area were expected to gust at 15 to 30 mph, said John Pierson, the incident commander for Goodwin Fire. Earlier, officials had said the fire was about 1 percent contained.
The blaze is pushing to the northeast but could threaten the Dewey-Humboldt area to the north, Pierson said. Dewey-Humboldt, an area of about 4,000 people, is on pre-evacuation notice as the fire grows along State Route 69.
Several people said the Prescott Golf and Country Club in Dewey, between the Mingus and Bradshaw Mountain ranges, was being evacuated by Wednesday afternoon. That area lies to the north of the Dewey-Humboldt area, potentially suggesting a significantly wider area affected by the fire in a matter of hours.
By the morning, the county had seen between 1,500 to 2,000 people evacuated from the Mayer area, said Denny Foulk, the county’s emergency manager.
Ducey has called the blaze the “top priority” in Arizona and he has cut short a trip to Colorado to help coordinate the state’s response to it. The emergency declaration directs $200,000 of emergency funds to the fire suppression efforts and can help expedite reimbursements for emergency response and recovery costs. It is also needed if federal aid is later requested.
“My office continues to coordinate with state agencies and local emergency response officials with a focus on saving lives, protecting property and making sure evacuees have the shelter and support necessary,” Ducey said in a statement. “This emergency declaration will ensure every necessary resource at the state’s disposal is made available to assist firefighters and provide aid to displaced residents.”
The fire claimed at least some structures around Pine Flat, though Pierson said it wasn’t clear yet whether that included any residences. He also could not say how many structures were involved.
Because of the unpredictable conditions, Pierson could not say when people could return to their homes in the area.
Pierson emphasized that firefighters are doing what they can while trying to avoid a repeat of the 2013 Yarnell Fire disaster in which 19 firefighters died.
“We are not going to put firefighters in danger,” he said. “We are going to make smart decisions, when to engage and when to disengage.”
Pierson said there are 650 firefighters battling the blaze that involves 40-year-old chaparral that is “conducive to extensive and erratic fire conditions.” They have eight helicopters, 23 engines and a DC-10 jet loaded with retardant was evident overhead.
As of Wednesday morning, one firefighter had sustained an injury that was not considered serious, Pierson said.
The main concern Wednesday morning was the Highway 69 corridor, where the blaze had crossed a section, igniting a new but manageable blaze there, Pierson said.
There were 57 people staying at a shelter and several dozen cats, dogs and horses were housed at an animal shelter as well.
Authorities also said fire restrictions would go into effect Friday at Prescott National Forest, which is to the west of the Goodwin Fire.
As the fire has worsened, Ducey canceled his appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival for economic development panel discussions and is returning to Arizona to receive additional briefings on the fire.
That follows a series of tweets Wednesday morning in which the governor said he wanted to assure Yavapai County residents that the state’s attention and resources were focused on containing the blaze.
“I want the residents of Yavapai County to know the #GoodwinFire is the state’s top priority right now,” Ducey tweeted.
“Not only do our hearts go out to those who have been displaced, but our attention & resources are focused heavily on containing the fire. … My office is receiving real-time updates from @azstateforestry, which is coordinating with local, regional and federal fire officials.”
Ducey went on to add that Arizona is “indebted” to the crews managing and fighting the Goodwin Fire and other wildfires burning across the state.
Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez contributed to this article.
Return to azcentral.com for updates.
The Goodwin Fire south of Prescott seen from an airplane on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
Spencer Dennis/Special to The Republic
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The Goodwin Fire has burned more than 20,000 acres and is 1 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. Rob Schumacher/azcentral.com
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More residents are preparing for possible evacuations as a wildfire in northern Arizona continues to grow. (June 28)
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John Pierson, Southwest Incident Commander, holds a press briefing about the Goodwin Fire, which has burned over 20,000 acres near Prescott, forced evacuations in Mayer, Arizona, and crossed State Route 69, on June 28, 2017.
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The Goodwin Fire in northern Arizona grew to more than 20,000 acres on Wednesday morning. Here are scenes from the fire you should see.
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Firefighters battle “volatile and explosive” fuels as they try to contain the Goodwin Fire. Arizona State Forestry
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Mayer was evacuated June 27, 2017, as the Goodwin Fire came dangerously close. Resident Eveline Sandy talks while packing up her truck to leave, not knowing where to go. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
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Helicopters drop flame retardant in Mayer as the Goodwin Fire approaches and the town is evacuated. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
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As the Goodwin Fire continues to grow, more and more residents are being forced to evacuate.
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Azcentral.com reader Jennifer Johnson recorded this video of the Goodwin Fire as she was leaving Prescott Valley on June 27, 2017.
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The Goodwin Fire is burning 14 miles south of Prescott and south of the community of Mayer.
Scott Craven/The Republic
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Here are some tips to keep your family and home safe during wildfire season. Paige Schwahn/USA Today Network
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View Goodwin Fire from an airplane
Time-lapse view of the Goodwin Fire burning near Prescott
Arizona fire grows, more evacuations possible
Goodwin Fire, June 28, 2017 morning press briefing
Scenes from the Goodwin Fire in Arizona
Fire crews battle the Goodwin Fire
Goodwin Fire forces evacuation of Mayer
Goodwin Fire helicopter attack
Goodwin Fire forces evacuations
Watch fire crews drop retardant on the Goodwin Fire
How to prepare your family for wildfire season
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