Jun 172011

By Tammy Gray-Searles–

As of June 14, the total cost of fighting the Wallow fire had reached $30 million, the Navajo County Board of Supervisors learned during a regular meeting.

Emergency Manager Dan Hinz gave the board an update on the fire. Board members also approved additional pay for staff who worked extraordinary hours assisting with fire response, as long as the payments were eligible for reimbursement by the state or federal government.

According to Hinz, as of 9 a.m. on June 14, the fire was at 18 percent containment, and power had been restored to residents in Alpine, Nutrioso and Springerville. He also noted that Greer was still threatened by the fire, and that Luna, N.M., was on pre-evacuation notice.

Hinz also provided a number of statistics to the board regarding the fire. He noted that 20 helicopters, five air tankers, 347 fire engines, 70 water tankers and 22 bulldozers had been made available. A total of 4,439 personnel were deployed, including 23 hotshot crews and 78 hand crews.

Altogether 2,714 residences had been threatened. Of those, 31 were destroyed and five were damaged. A total of 473 commercial properties were also threatened, of which four were destroyed.

“This is catastrophic to our economy,” he said, noting that the major impact would be felt in Apache County, but that it would also carry over into Navajo County.

Supervisor Jerry Brownlow asked what role Navajo County has played in responding to the fire.

Hinz explained that emergency management personnel have been assisting Apache County, and that sheriff’s office and public works staff have also been assisting as needed.

In other action June 14, the board:

* Approved renewal of a contract with the Arizona Department of Health Services for a tuberculosis control program, and renewal of a contract with Dr. Michael Keberlein for consultation services for persons in Navajo County at risk of having tuberculosis.

* Accepted the donation of a parcel of land valued at $850 from the White Mountain Interfaith Association, pending a title search.

* Approved the expenditure of up to $4,285 in matching funds for a $17,140 family counseling grant from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

* Approved a contract with the White Mountain Independent for annual newspaper printing services.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 28, at the county complex in Holbrook.