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Wildfire Grows to 10,000 Acres; Parker Canyon Lake Closed

The Arizona Daily Star

May 27, 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.

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.

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