Reclamation encourages recreationists to avoid Laguna Fire suppression area

Media Contact: Doug Hendrix , (928) 343-8145

For Release: May 20, 2011

Yuma, AZ - Although the weather is setting up for a lovely weekend, Reclamation's Yuma Area Office is joining local emergency responders in asking recreationists and boaters to stay clear of the Laguna Dam road and the Mittry Lake area along the Colorado River. Over the next several days, suppression crews will be positioning heavy equipment and firefighting crews in the Laguna Fire perimeter creating additional traffic and safety concerns.

The Laguna fire is burning brush and vegetation along the Colorado River about 15 miles north of Yuma, Ariz. Acreage burned to date is estimated at nearly 750 acres. Currently the fire is estimated at 50% contained with full containment anticipated by May 23, 2011.

Reclamation facilities in the area of the fire received some peripheral damage but all water delivery services and infrastructure are operating normally for customers in Arizona and California. Until the fire is completely contained, Reclamation is advising area residents and visitors to avoid traveling along the SR24 roadway on the California side of the border and the Laguna Dam Road that turns into Mittry Lake Road on the Arizona side.

Since Wednesday, May 18th, approximately 130 firefighters were assigned to the Laguna Fire including engines and crews from the Rural/Metro, Department of Corrections, Imperial County, and Yuma Proving Grounds Fire Departments; and crews from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management. Fifty firefighters and two engines will work through the night tonight taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and higher humidities.

Fire suppression activities continue to focus on islands of vegetation inside the fire perimeter - with Cottonwood, Salt Cedar and Willow stands serving as the primary sources of fuel.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.