Snakes, Mine Shafts Challenge Crews Battling Arizona Wildfire
Firefighters trying to protect a historic mining town in northern Arizona were told to expect extreme conditions Tuesday, with temperatures in the 80s and gusts up to 35 mph that could fan an out-of-control wildfire.
Crews are facing additional hazards as well: snakes and abandoned mining shafts.
Snakes were a problem at a past fire in the area, Karen Takai, spokeswoman for the fire team, told msnbc.com. No one has been bitten so far, she said, but “we know that could be an issue in this area.”
Procedures call for any bitten firefighter to be taken to a local hospital for anti-venom.
As for mine shafts, “there are a lot … that you don’t see because of the amount of brush,” she said.
Add rugged terrain to the mix, she said, and conditions are “extremely difficult.”
The National Weather Service also issued a “red flag warning” Tuesday for northern Arizona, southeast Nevada and southern Utah.