Firefighters save historic ranch house from wildfire in San Rafael Valley

[Source: JB Miller, NogalesInternational.com] – A wildfire that authorities say was likely started by a lightning strike scorched approximately 189 acres at and around the San Rafael State Natural Area on Friday night, threatening a historic ranch house and burning down an outbuilding. There were no injuries.

Patagonia Volunteer Fire and Rescue, which initially took command of the fire, was dispatched at approximately 8 p.m. along with firefighters from the Sonoita-Elgin Fire District and the Coronado National Forest. By Saturday morning, command of the fire had been turned over to the Arizona State Forestry Division.

Captain Ike Isakson of Patagonia Volunteer Fire and Rescue said the so-called “San Rafael Fire” burned down a pump house, but firefighters were able to protect the main ranch house.

The territorial-style ranch house, which is now managed by Arizona State Parks, was built in 1900 and is more than 9,000 square feet in size. The landscape and house have been featured in many movies, according to the state parks website.

“Arizona residents should be thanking the Patagonia Fire Department for reacting so quickly,” said Ellen Bilbrey, spokesperson for Arizona State Parks. “They actually saved one of the most important buildings in the state.”

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