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Hundreds Of Firefighters Respond To Arizona Wildfires

Hundreds of firefighters made some progress Monday against major wildfires across Arizona. Crews were fighting fires in the Santa Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest overlooking Tucson, in the Tonto National Forest northeast of metro Phoenix, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in northeast Arizona and in the Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon.

The human-caused Bush Fire north of Phoenix is more than 180,000 acres and 42 percent contained. Residents of several small communities from Jake’s Corner to Tonto Basin returned to their homes yesterday, but Sunflower and Apache Lake remain under evacuation orders. A Type 1 management team is responding to the Bush Fire as well as a nearby blaze, the Central Fire, which started on Saturday and has grown to 4,000 acres.

Jacob Lake and several residences along House Rock Road near the Grand Canyon’s North Rim remain evacuated because of the Magnum Fire. Winds pushed the fire eastward toward House Rock Valley yesterday, and firefighters responded by dropping water and retardant from the air. The North Rim remains closed to the public, but businesses along Marble Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs are open. The Magnum Fire is nearly 70 thousand acres and 28 percent contained. Its cause is under investigation. 

A Type 1 incident management team will take command of the Bighorn Fire today. It’s burning in canyons and on ridges in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson. The lightning-caused wildfire has grown to 58,000 acres and is 16 percent contained. Crews worked overnight to control spot fires, and additional firefighters were assigned to protect the Summerhaven community on Mt. Lemmon. Residents on Mt. Lemmon, Mt. Bigelow, and in Peppersauce Canyon remain under evacuation orders.