Windy conditions have prompted an Arizona wildfire to char more than 8 square miles across eastern Arizona’s White Mountains and prompted some evacuations. Fire crews are hoping lighter winds on Saturday will spur progress against the wildfire.
On Friday, windy conditions pushed the so-called San Juan fire past key containment lines per the Associated Press.
“The winds picked up and we did have a lot of movement on the fire,” said Pamela Baltimore, a spokeswoman for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. “The fire crossed containment lines to the east and west.”
The north end of the fire was holding and plans were dropping slurry on active sections of the Arizona wildfire in an attempt to re-establish the fire lines on the east and west flanks, officials said.
Communities mostly populated with summer homes remained under mandatory evacuation orders because of the fire that was reported around noon Thursday. The cause for the fire remains under investigation.
A total of 37 summer homes in the Red Cabin Ranch and Whiting homestead areas remained evacuated as a precaution and authorities said up to 90 structures in three communities have potential to be threatened by the fire. Those structures include the likes of homes, barns and sheds.
More than 200 residents and tourists left the areas by the time the evacuation had been ordered Thursday night, Apache County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Richard Gunn said.
No injuries have been reported. The fire is approximately 135 miles east of Phoenix, close to the New Mexico state line.
In addition, Kevin Bailey, a spokesman for the incident fire command, told The Arizona Republic that pre-evacuation notices were issued for two other areas – Green’s Peak Hideaway and Hidden meadows.
Authorities said winds in the area were expected to die down Friday night and be light on Saturday, which would aid in containing the fire.
Windy Conditions Char More Than 8 Square Miles in Arizona Wildfire