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Bush Fire Forces Evacuation Of Third Community Near Phoenix


A wildfire northeast of Phoenix has grown to nearly 65,000 acres and has prompted the evacuation of a more rural communities.

Officials gave the "Go" order Tuesday for the Sunflower and Apache Lake areas and evacuated Punkin Center and Tonto Basin Monday. The Bush Fire is burning in the Mazatzal Mountains on the Tonto National Forest and officials report no containment.

They say it was caused by a vehicle fire Saturday. The wildfire has also forced the closure of about 50 miles of State Route 87 south of Payson along with State Route 188 near Roosevelt Lake as well as State Route 88. Officials expect smoke to impact the Payson, Young and Heber-Overgaard areas. 

Heavy winds and dry, hot conditions have caused explosive growth with the fire quadrupling in size since Monday.

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