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UPDATED: Wallow Wildfire in Arizona Burns Summer Cabins

TUCSON, Ariz. — A wildfire burning through scenic mountain areas in eastern Arizona has burned three and possibly as many as six summer cabins, authorities said.

Wildfires in Arizona have forced dozens of evacuations in three small communities, as other fires burned in several Western states that did not immediately threaten any buildings.

The U.S. Forest Service said Friday at least three summer rental cabins burned in the Wallow wildfire that was consuming dead and dry trees and brush in the White Mountains near the New Mexico border.

“There were some cabins I believe up by Beaver Creek that were burned,” said Bill Bishop, a spokesman for the Eastern Arizona Incident Management Team, in an interview with The Associated Press.

The Central Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross said between three and six cabins burned along with one mobile home according to the Apache County Emergency Services.

“There’s one mobile home in Alpine and six homes in Beaver Creek,” said Mark Weldon, a Red Cross spokesman in Phoenix.

The U.S. Forest Service said the Wallow fire has burned 165 square miles (106,000 acres) making it the fourth-largest wildfire in state history.

The Rodeo-Chediski fire burned 469,000 acres in 2002, the Cave Creek complex fire burned 248,000 acres in 2005, and the Willow fire burned 120,000 acres in 2004.

Residents in the scenic mountain community of Alpine were ordered Thursday night to pack up and leave.

A shelter was set up at Blue Ridge High School in Pinetop-Lakeside. There was no exact figure on the number of evacuees.

Smoke from the Alpine fire is carrying all the way to Albuquerque, more than 200 miles to the northeast.

The evacuation order for Paradise and East Whitetail Canyon in southeastern Arizona went out Thursday night as strong winds pushed the so-called Horseshoe Two fire toward the towns, the Cochise County Sheriff’s office said.

The nearby Chiricahua National Monument was closed as a precaution.

The Horseshoe Two fire has been burning for days and has charred about 135 square miles (86,000 acres) of brush and timber. Officials said it had been 75 percent contained until the winds picked up, dropping containment down to 50 percent.

Beaver Creek and the other two evacuated communities are small. Paradise has about a dozen occupied homes and many other vacation residences, Carol Capas, a spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff’s office, told The AP. East Whitetail Canyon has about a dozen homes.

The U.S. Forest Service said about 800 firefighters are battling the blaze, and many are involved in protecting structures in the evacuated communities.

Meanwhile, another wildfire burning in northern Arizona has burned about 100 acres near Camp Navajo, an Army National Guard Base west of Flagstaff.

Nearby Interstate 40 remains open, but fire officials cautioned the highway could be closed because of the smoke.

In Colorado, calmer winds were expected Friday at a 20-acre fire that burned up a ridge to within 50 yards of homes near Keystone Resort. A wildfire burning about 50 miles east of Los Angeles in California’s Cleveland National Forest was holding at 160 acres, but no homes were threatened. And in Alaska, crews fought a fire that had burned more than 8 acres along a ridge overlooking cabins and recreation homes northwest of Fairbanks.

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June 3, 2011 11:10 a.m. — Over 100K Acres Burned in Wallow Fire

ALPINE, Ariz. — The U.S. Forest Service says the Wallow wildfire in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona has burned more than 100,000 acres or 165 square miles.

Forest Service spokeswoman Mary Johnson in Alpine tells The Associated Press that no buildings in the scenic mountain community have been lost.

Johnson says firefighters will be spending Friday protecting buildings in Alpine from the wildfire.

Meanwhile, Johnson says earlier reports of embers landing in Alpine and setting spot fires are unfounded.

About 1,000 people have been affected by the wildfire and Alpine-area residents were told Thursday night to evacuate. Many left for shelters in Springerville and Pinetop-Lakeside.

It’s the Wallow Fire that has produced the smoke that has blown into New Mexico.

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June 3, 2011 9:37 a.m.

ALPINE, Ariz. — Winds carried embers from the Wallow Fire into the small town of Alpine setting off some spot fires. A spokesman for the Show Low Fire Department tells KTAR he doesn’t believe any buildings have been lost.

Residents of the small eastern Arizona community were ordered to evacuate because of the wildfire.

The Wallow Fire has burned at least 40,500 acres of forest land and is being fanned by strong winds. It’s at zero containment.

It’s the Wallow Fire that has produced the smoke that has blown into New Mexico.

 

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