Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Arizona wildfire sets new record at 469,000 acres

Arizona wildfire sets new record at 469,000 acres
(Reuters) - The wildfire that has roared out of control for more than two weeks through the pine forests of eastern arizona set a record on Tuesday as the largest in state history, having consumed over 469,000 acres.
The Wallow Fire, which authorities suspect started from an unattended campfire, has scorched dozens of homes and displaced as many as 10,000 people since it erupted May 29 in the White Mountains region, an area popular among Arizonans as a weekend getaway from the heat of summer.
The wind-whipped blaze has burned mostly in and around the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, about 150 miles east of Phoenix, churning through vast stretches of thick ponderosa pine.
Evacuation orders were lifted on Sunday for 7,000 to 8,000 residents forced to flee last week from two towns near the border with New Mexico, Springerville and Eagar.
But authorities have warned returning families that lingering smoke and soot in the air pose health risks for children and people with respiratory problems.
An estimated 1,900 additional people from several nearby towns evacuated in the first week of the blaze were notified on Monday night that it would probably be at least a few more days before they would be permitted to go back home. Read More...


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