Mohave County
July 2024
Volume 24 Issue 5

Jul 2024 | Journal, July 2024 | 0 comments

Needles Bush Fire threatens Triple Farms Produce

Journal, July 2024 | 0 comments

July 2024

MOHAVE VALLEY — A brush fire that began in Needles, California on Saturday, June 22, quickly spread across the Colorado River into Mohave Valley, Ariz., consuming over 200 acres and prompting a swift community response to protect local farms and livestock. The blaze significantly impacted Triple Farms Produce and highlighted the critical importance of emergency preparedness in the region.
The fire started around 1:15 p.m. on the 900 block of Bush Street in Needles when a vehicle towing a trailer lost a wheel, which ignited nearby vegetation. Fueled by high winds of 20-30 mph and temperatures reaching 110 degrees, it rapidly expanded to 60 acres in California and 143 acres in Arizona by Saturday evening.
Triple Farms Produce, located in the fire’s path, faced imminent danger. “The farm is on fire, there is nothing to do but pray my animals run away,” the farm posted on social media at 4:30 p.m. Former firefighter R.B. Bowers assisted in releasing horses to safety, noting, “It’s moving really fast.” The community quickly mobilized in response. Judy Thornton of Needles Tourism made the Needles Rodeo Grounds available for large animal evacuation, while Kathy Jenkins of Oatman Burros Sanctuary offered assistance with equine relocation. Socks the Oatman Burro & Friends evacuated 13 farm animals free of charge.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for Fenders Resort on Needles Highway, with evacuees directed to the Needles Senior Center. By 5:52 p.m., residents in south and southeast Mohave Valley were placed on SET status, preparing for potential evacuation.
A multi-agency firefighting effort involved teams from San Bernardino County, Mohave Valley, Fort Mojave Mesa, Bullhead City, Desert Hills, and Lake Havasu fire departments. Helicopters and aircraft assisted with water drops and fire retardant application. Their combined efforts led to 50% containment on the California side by Saturday night, increasing to 75% by Sunday morning.
Despite the fire’s intensity, no injuries to humans or animals were reported. One occupied home on Bush Street and a structure known as Rattlesnake Ranch were destroyed, but the houses at Triple Farms Produce were spared. The farm later confirmed that while the fire had burned through their back fields, their houses remained undamaged and all animals were accounted for.
Mohave Electric Cooperative worked to restore power to affected areas, with most homes on Dike and Courtwright Roads reconnected within days. Efforts continued to restore power to the last six homes south of Courtwright on Dike Road.
San Bernardino County Fire Investigators are conducting an ongoing investigation into the precise cause of the fire. Preliminary findings suggest it started from the lost trailer wheel or hot material from the wheel assembly. Mohave Valley Fire Chief Ted Martin praised the firefighting efforts: “These guys did outstanding work and I am very proud of what they accomplished.” He emphasized the challenges faced by rural fire departments with limited resources and the efficiency of their response.
In the aftermath of the fire, local officials are reviewing the incident response to identify areas for improvement in future emergencies. Discussions are underway about enhancing fire prevention measures and improving emergency response capabilities in the area.
The Needles Fire has served as a stark reminder of the ongoing wildfire risks in the region, particularly during periods of high temperatures and strong winds. It has underscored the critical need for robust emergency response systems and community-wide preparedness efforts. The swift and coordinated response to the Needles Fire demonstrated the strength and resilience of the Needles and Mohave Valley communities in the face of adversity.
As the community continues to recover, the focus has shifted to supporting affected residents and businesses, including local farms like Triple Farms Produce. Local authorities are encouraging residents to stay informed about potential fire risks and to follow any advisories issued by emergency management officials. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office continues to provide updates and resources for community preparedness on their social media channels.
This is the most updated information available at time of publication. Please visit our website for updates.
— Jeremy Webb


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