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Southern Arizona wildfire prompts more evacuations

TUSCON, Ariz. — A wildfire burning in the Santa Catalina Mountains of southern Arizona is prompting more evacuations.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said an area northeast of Tucson was being evacuated Tuesday. The area includes the southeastern Catalina area around Redington Road. Authorities did not immediately say how many homes were in the area.

The fire sparked by lightning more than three weeks ago has now burned nearly 180 square miles (466 square kilometers). It’s 45% contained.

More than 1,000 firefighters and support crew are working the fire with the help of dozens of engines, several bulldozers and a fleet of helicopters.

Fire officials reported that the blaze was driven by strong winds Monday, with top wind speeds reaching 54 mph. A spot fire forced crews to build a line around radio towers on Mt. Lemmon while other crews worked to protect structures in the Summerhaven area.

Along the fire’s eastern edge, gusty winds forced helicopters to be grounded Monday afternoon.

Forecasters were expecting another dry and breezy day Tuesday.