From: Associated Press
Published June 15, 2006 12:00 AM

Wildfires Burn More than 20,000 Acres across Arizona

HEBER, Ariz. — Strong winds thwarted efforts Wednesday to battle several wildfires that have burned more than 20,000 acres across the rain-deprived state.

A blaze threatened five subdivisions on the west side of Flagstaff, forcing more than 100 homes to evacuate Wednesday night.

The fire was driven by wind gusts of up to 46 mph as it scorched roughly 250 acres, fire officials said. Several air tankers were dropping water and retardant on the blaze as it burned away from the downtown.

"It's looking very good," said Connie Birkland, a spokeswoman for the Coconino National Forest, "but that doesn't mean that it's out. We still have a ways to go, and we still have homes in danger."

An estimated 120 homes were threatened, though none were burned. Officials said a number of campgrounds were consumed by flames but an exact number was not immediately known.

The cause of the fire, which was spotted about 4 p.m., was under investigation.

Crews continued to work on a 6,000-acre wildfire that threatened homes on two subdivisions north of Heber, about 140 miles northeast of Phoenix. It was 40 percent contained Wednesday. The June 6 blaze was sparked by lightening, authorities said.

Elsewhere, a wildfire charred about 1,500 acres in Page in northeastern Arizona, and a 12,637-acre wildfire in a wilderness area near Kingman in northwestern Arizona was 95 percent contained, officials said.

Source: Associated Press

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