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Arizona Wildfire Grows to 10,000 Acres

Arizona Wildfire Grows to 10,000 Acres

The Arizona Daily Star

May 25, 2011

A wildfire near scenic Parker Canyon Lake has grown to more than 10,000 acres. The lake and a campground there have been closed to the public.

The human-caused blaze — called the Arlene Fire — started Monday morning and is spreading quickly in dry grass and brush southeast of Sonoita, said Marylee Peterson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire was 25 percent contained this morning, and no structures had been damaged, Peterson said.

Heidi Schewel, another Forest Service spokeswoman, said the fire wasn’t moving toward the lake, but the site was closed to accommodate firefighting operations.

“The lake, the campground, the store, the marina and all associated facilities are closed because helicopters are dipping water out of the lake,” Schewel said. “The area is closed as a safety precaution.”

Carol Capas, a spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, said five families living near the lake were advised to evacuate Monday night.

“Two families left,” Capas said, “and three families chose to stay.”

Schewel said the name of the fire comes from the Arlene Tank, a watering site for livestock in the area.

She said forest officials have imposed fire restrictions across the forest. Among the prohibited activities: Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove fire, including within a developed recreation site or improved site. Exception: The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices is allowed so long as such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specifications for safety.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports fire crews are continuing burnout operations in an attempt to contain and extinguish the Horseshoe Two wildfire in southeastern Arizona.

The U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday structure protection crews are in place in the community of Paradise west of Portal to protect against spot fires due to high winds.

Crews on the south and southwest side of the fire are continuing to work on lines toward Rucker and Tex Canyons in preparation of burnout operations aimed at removing dead and dry grass in the path of the wildfire.

The Horseshoe Two fire has burned 43,000 acres and is 30 percent contained.

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