Crown King Gladiator Fire – Day 11 Update 1

APS Crews working below Switchback 1
APS Crews working below First Switchback

Sorry for not posting an update yesterday.  Nothing particularly news worthy happened with the Gladiator Fire yesterday and I was busy with real estate.  Here is the update I have been promising including pictures from my drive up the mountain on Tuesday. Reminder: You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

The Gladiator Fire was started on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13th, 2012 at 11:00am from a structure fire that spread to the neighboring property.  It is currently estimated at 16,222 acres and is 30% contained.  The  South, East and Northeast sides of fire are being reported as being contained.  The majority of the firefighting efforts are now focused on the West

Switchback 2
Switchback 2

and Southwest sides of the fire along Senator Hwy. Currently there are 1,146 people working on helping contain the Gladiator Fire and so far 7 injuries have been reported.  In the areas that have cooled off, rehabilitation efforts have begun with a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team.  We will have another update soon regarding the work the BAER team is performing.   APS has begun work on restoring power to the town of Crown King.  It is expected to take a number of days to replace the roughly 20 power lines that were destroyed in the fire.

Comments from my drive to Crown King on Tuesday, May 22nd:

Approaching Switchback 2
Approaching Switchback 2

On Tuesday I was given access to go to Crown King to deliver the new generator for the Crown King General Store and retrieve the rental unit that we had taken up there last week.  I have to give credit to the Incident Command team, they are doing a stellar job taking care of our town and the 1,000+ people that are working on the fire.  Leaving Spring Valley on the dirt roads to Crown King, I noticed a new temporary heliport that has been fashioned in the desert outside of Spring Valley.  There were three helicopters stationed there.

Driving up the road to town the first sign of the fire up close is around the area before the first switchback.

Mile Post 24
Mile Post 24

The entire area around “Pee Rock” and the road to the Swastika and Peck Mines has burned.  Surprisingly the immediate area around Switchback 1 was saved.  Switchback 2 is one of the areas that the most fire damage can be seen.  The entire area is what they call moonscape.  All signs of vegetation have burned and only a few charred tree trunks can be see sticking up from the black dirt.  The area looks completely different as normally the vegetation restricts your vision to the areas beyond the road, now you can see for miles.  You continue to drive in and out of burned areas past switchback two towards Switchback three.  The washes below switchback 3 have burned as well.  Switchback 4 looks pretty much the same.  After you make the hard 90 degree right turn before Peanut Butter Pass and the Lookout Vista you run into more burned area.

APS Crews working to restore Power
APS Crews working to restore Power

The area around the lookout point has not burned.  The hill at the helipad has some burned areas on the North Side, but much of the surrounding area is the same.  This was all area burned during the Lane 2 Fire and the fire probably didn’t have enough fuel to really spread in this area.  After the helipad on the final stretch towards town, much of the area on the North side of the road has burned especially as you get closer to town.

There are a number of areas you can tell will be an issue for erosion during the first big rain storm we get in town.  The good news is that once you get to the Magic Bridge there is no sign of the fire.  The pines immediately past the Magic Bridge are all standing and are as green as ever.

Mile Post 26
Mile Post 26

It is a great feeling to get in town and have it look pretty much the same.  From town, you can’t see much evidence of the fire besides the red lines made from the Slurry Bombers that were making drops on the ridges North of town.

APS had numerous crews working hard at a number of locations along the road up.  I counted at least 12 APS vehicles and you could see them working on actively replacing power poles in the burned areas.  I am sure it will take them a few days to complete the work, but it is good to see them already working towards restoring power to Crown King.

In town, the General Store has been converted into a “Spike Camp.”

Magic Bridge after Gladiator Fire
The Magic Bridge

There is a large 8’x8′ board with the latest fire map posted, and crews were having meetings discussing strategy.  The side patio of the store has been converted to the dining area.  That night crews were having a steak dinner and were enjoying the food under the lights that have been strung around the patio.  Main street was lined with fire engines from all over the state and surrounding states.  There must have been close to 20 fire trucks in town.  Crews are camped out along the road between town and Senator HWY.

The General Store opens around 6pm which is shift change.  The crews in town get supplies and refreshments and headed out to the fire lines along Senator HWY.  The store stays open till after 10pm so as the day crews come back in town they have a chance to get supplies.  It was nice to see everything operating so smoothly.

Front Of Crown King General Store During Gladiator Fire
Front Of Crown King General Store

From town I could only see a few columns of smoke from the areas burning near Towers Mountain.

Hope that this update gives everyone a sense of relief.  Our town is still there and looks just as amazing as always.  Remember, we love to read your comments below, and appreciate you sharing this page with your friends or using the buttons on the left to like it on Facebook.

Also due to the fire and the uncertainty about when the town will be reopened. We have postponed our Wine in the Pines event to Saturday July 28th, 2012.  For more information on this event please check out  We hope to see you all in town soon.

Fire Engines in Town Front Of General Store
Fire Engines in Town From Front Of General Store


32 thoughts on “Crown King Gladiator Fire – Day 11 Update 1”

  1. Dane,Carol and Jackie I’d like to thank you very much for the info that you have been sharing with us all it really means a great deal….And I’d like to say to all the residence of Crown King and the surrounding towns plus the people fighting the fire safe travels and god speed.
    Shannon Casey

  2. Dane,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to document and provide all of these updates!  I have a cabin on Sunny South and have been addicted to the ‘refresh’ button on my web browser ever since the fire started.   I’m having serious CK withdraws, I’ve only missed a few weekends up there since signing in September…it truly is my mecca, as I know it is for many others as well!  I would be absolutely devastated if the fire reached it and my heart breaks for those that have lost their cabins.   Your updates have provided a considerable amount of information as well as comfort during these stressful times.  
    (My truck is packed and ready to go up the mountain the minute they open the roads back up!)

    1. Having them as well. What a way to bring people together! Cant wait to head up the back way again for some home town fudge!

  3. Thank you for the updates and the photos. I’m so glad that Crown King has not been touched by this fire and as soon as the moutain road opens my family will make a trip to Crown King to show our support !

  4. Thanks for the updates.  Even though I have no direct interest in Crown King–I live in Prescott and have visited once–I am interested and concerned.  I appreciate your great reporting

  5. Dane ,Thanks so much for posting the pictures, and letting see what we can expect on the drive up. Hoping eveyone working so hard, will get a little rest. Dawn Cosburn

  6. Thanks so much for the updates Dane. Great work! Seeing the images along the switchbacks made me sad…how is that secret society of people who decorate trees along the road during the Holidays going to do it this year? 

  7. The P rock area is P rock, not Pee Rock.  I was corrected on that a few years ago!  Ha! Just a piece of history on that. 
     Also, I saw the Peck Mine cabin this morning on News channel 3 via helicopter. It has not burned, the fire went around it!  Lucky break there.  Not sure about the Swastika cabin,  have a great day & thank you Carol & Ben for everything. Will have to get Ben some of those blueberry muffins he does so like!  Barb Myers

    1. Sad we were just there in the mine saturday before the fire started. Burned or not, we will go back!

    2.  Barb, I am sure Ben would love some blueberry muffins 🙂 Hope to see you in CK again soon.

  8. Thanks for keeping us all posted!  So very happy to see pictures of the town and that the magic bridge is still magic!

  9. Thank you so much for your efforts, your photos and comments.  I almost got sick to my stomach when I saw so much devastation…but Crown King, the town, the people have survived and I have no doubt will be around another 100 years.  Every person who has ventured across the magic bridge truly will be touched by the magic and majesty of this tiny town and its amazing town folks.  God bless Crown King!

    1.  We miss you, Vickie!! Thanks for your words of encouragement. We will definitely be around in 2112!! 🙂

    2. Vickie! I do not think anyone could say anthing better than you just did! Hope all is well! Miss you!

  10. Does anyone know if the meeting in Mayer tonight will be streamed live by anyone?

  11. Thank you so much for these updates.  I read them everyday as I have a son who is a hotshot and has been fighting the fire from the first night.  Your updates are truly the best place to find information online and keep us so updated on the fire – the crews – and the people.  Thank you also to all the people in CrownPoint who are taking such fine care of these firefighters!

    1.  Thanks to your son and the other firefighters, it looks like Crown King has once again been saved. We are blessed to have the support of you and your family. May God keep your son and his crew safe 🙂

    2. If we were allowed to be in town or if your son hangs around long enough after the fire we would love to show him and all of the brave fire fighters what a small town THANK YOU is all about.
      Personally I have to thank them all for saving my home on day two and three and for camping out on our ridge every night this week. Firefighters are our heros and we love them all!
      I know I speak for our entire town when I say, Thank You firefighters and God bless you all! We will forever be in your debt.

  12. Thank you so much for all this info!!! cant wait to get back to our little piece of heaven….there is no place like Crown King!! gets under your skin and never goes away…and that is a great thing! I miss everything…..we will all be there to help! Our cabin has been in our heart since the day we walked in and knew it was ours! The Town, People, and all the great spots make it a family…like no other Oooo hugs! We miss it all! Chris and John…..23365 s towersmtn rd (the a frame in the trees!)

  13. “Out of the ashes!” Just as the Phoenix rose in ancient legends, Crown King will rise again, now that its very heart seems preserved. All concerned, both residents, weekenders with cabins, and those looking to join the Crown King family (as with myself), are grateful for your comprehensive and insightful coverage of this disaster (but perhaps a new opportunity to “rise again”). You should be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for your dedicated, very astute coverage of this drama as it has unfolded! This represents grass roots photojournalism of the highest order, and kudos to you all who have contributed and made maximum use of the 21st Century media and internet tools available. Hopefully, the worst is over and we can begin the “rebuilding” process, now all concerned are already galvanized with this fact. I, for one, will look forward to ways that we can join together as residents, patrons and fans otherwise of the very special place that is Crown King, to ensure that, with individualized fire control systems, a localized event, such as a runaway fire with a single cabin experiencing a surprise disaster, can be contained before a larger emergency situation results. Sign me up for any/all countermeasures to such a, hopefully, unlikely event in the future. Hoping to soon find my own place in Crown King, best wishes to all, Michael Tanner

  14. As Michael says below, Now we hopefully can all help to rebuild and “rise up
    from the ashes.” Painful lessons can be looked at and how to prevent the
    spread of fire from cabin to cabin and avoid this ever happening again.  You,
    Dane, Carol, and Jackie showed your Town spirit.  I am so far away, yet I’ve
    gotten caught up in your Town and this horrible circumstance.  How
    wonderful to look forward to future get togethers.  Do the people, who lost
    their homes, have the wherewithal to rebuild? Will there be civic fund
    raisers? or will they have to relocate somewhere else?  I hope not.  It sounds
    like there are so many people, who genuinely want to help– including me.
    Keeping you all in my prayers…

  15. What is needed in Cleator for people from Crown King? Will bring food, clothes etc.

  16. I want to say thank you so must for the time for doing this.make’s me happy to here that crown king is going to be ok.I just love going up there.I hate to see it brun’s dose the fire looking so go down.oh and i want to ask u.can evey one go up there right now.

  17. I agree with Mr Tanner…..we need a call to action! I am in too for any plan to stop any future fires in their tracks! We need an emergency alert, training for quick response, and a large group of on the spot responders…there are plenty of us willing!!! The future needs to be save Crown King ER response group!!! So this never happens again. We also need thinning of the forest, clean up of fire fuel, and preventative measures…..I think many of us will help……lots of us care residence, part timers, and visitors!! We can do this!! (o:      The future of our little piece of heaven depends on this!

  18. Haven’t been to CK in a few years, but have spent some great days there and up on Towers at Spud Ranch….sad to hear that cabin is gone.  Nature is powerful and will recover.  Wonder how great the area will look a few years from how.  Looks like I’ll be making a trip up for Wine in the Pines to help celebrate.

  19. Thanks so much for the info.  Are the Walker and Spruce Mountain areas at risk at this point?

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