Investigators pinpoint origin of Doce Fire near Prescott - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Investigators pinpoint origin of Doce Fire near Prescott

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
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PRESCOTT, AZ (CBS5) -

Fire investigators are working to pinpoint the cause of the Doce Fire, which has now consumed more than 6,700 acres as it continues to grow.

Flagstaff Fire Captain Bill Morse said the fire started south of Iron Springs Road near Doce Mine and a target-shooting area.

Morse told CBS 5 News that officials have not ruled out target shooting as a cause of the wildfire. Morse said there was no lightning in the area, so they have no reason to think natural causes started the fire.

The wildfire is 10 percent contained, and has burned 6,732 acres as of Friday morning, according to U.S. Forest Service.

Fire officials said residents in the Granite Park Ranch and Levi Estates area would be notified of a scheduled burnout operation in Mint Creek Wash by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office reverse 911 system, but that it would not be an evacuation order, even though flames from the operation might be seen.

Members of the community took advantage of a meeting at Prescott High School on Thursday evening to thank fire and forest crews for their heroics, but they still have got a long way to go.

People packed into the school's auditorium hoping for good news, and they got some.

"We have not lost a life. We have not lost a structure," said Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher, who was then applauded.

Crews have been able to keep the flames away from homes. So far, 605 personnel are on top of the fire, and efforts have cost $2.24 million, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

But these people didn't just come here for numbers. Half of the auditorium was full of people who had to evacuate.

"So you're concerned about the important stuff ... 'When do I go home?'" incident commander Tony Sciacca said.

And there was no answer. Crews have been working around the clock removing brush, digging into the ground and using water to fight this fire.

"We're doing nothing. It's awful. You feel hopeless," resident Kathy Bryan said. She evacuated Tuesday.

"The DC-10s were flying over the tops of the houses and dropping the slurry, the fire was coming down, the smoke was coming down and it was the scariest thing I've ever had in my life," Bryan said.

"That's the hard part, what do you bring?" Carol Sutton asked. "Nothing looks important."

Bryan forgot her hairbrush, and Sutton left socks at her house. And though they may be missing the comforts of home, they've gained a little something through this disaster.

"It says a lot. There's not too many people staying at the shelter," Bryan said. "In this community, people have been offered homes."

Several of the large air tankers have been diverted to another wildfire in New Mexico, but they still have helicopters. While it's been very dry and windy these last few days, weather conditions may improve over the weekend.

Most crews are working 12-hour shifts, with the day crews spending nights in tents, in a field and night crews sleeping in a gymnasium where it's quiet and there's air conditioning. Food caterers are feeding approximately 700 people each day.

Earlier this week, Gov. Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency, which allows for additional funding for Yavapai County.

The National Guard has not been called in at this time.

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on the fire.

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