Winds fuel controlled burn into two-day wildfire

Comanche County_A controlled burn than got out of control turned into a 24-hour fight for local firefighters this weekend. The Medicine Park Volunteer Fire Department was helping a property owner burn some brush along Medicine Creek, but when high winds blew in, it caused the fire jump to the other bank. Firefighters couldn't get ahead of it fast enough and it continued to spread overnight and throughout Sunday.

Fighting fire with fire... That was the answer to taming the flames that were crawling up from the Medicine Creek canyon. Firefighters burned a stretch of grass to the northwest, creating a fire line that the wildfire couldn't jump, like it jumped the creek down in the canyon. "Down on the creek where we can't control burn, and we can't get to it to fight it, all we can do is string out fire trucks down there and wait on it to burn to us," said Paradise Valley VFD Fire Chief Doug Wright.

Firefighters said all the land in between the mountain range, the highway, and their fire line was worth losing. But if the flames jumped that fire line, their next access road was six miles away. "It's very rough, and very rocky," Wright said. "A fire truck, you get off the road with it, and they're hitting boulders and rocks that you can't see and can do a lot of damage to a truck. So far, knock on wood, we haven't had that happen."

It took dozens of firefighters across seven different departments two days to trap the fire and put it out. "It was just one of those unfortunate things where the wind changed and it just got away," he said.

On the scene, firefighters were guessing about 300 acres burned. As of 5:30 p.m. Sunday evening the fire was completely out, ending what Paradise Valley Fire Chief Wright called "just another day in paradise."