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Wildfires rage in AZ

Huge wildfires continue to rage across Arizona.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | July 22, 2005

The Edge wildfire complex has burned more than 40,000 acres and prompted the evacuation of homes in Punkin Center and the small community of Sunflower. According to one official, no structures have been lost yet due to effective fire management near the communities.

“We had to do a burnout near some of the homes yesterday to keep the fire away and it was successful,” said Jim Whittington, fire information officer for the New Mexico Interagency Management Team. “We’re hoping that we’ll be able to get those folks back in their homes shortly.”

Whittington said crews are doing their best to the keep the large blaze east of Highway 87 and west of Highway 188. On Thursday, fire crews had to keep the blaze from jumping the highways numerous times.

The blaze is 40% contained, but the fight has not been easy due to harsh weather conditions. Afternoon thunderstorms produced powerful winds which only fueled the fire Thursday. The weekend weather looks the same: hot with possible thunderstorms across the region.

Many fire crews across the west have been busy this wildfire season, yet Arizona’s wildfires have been more plentiful – with 14 currently burning more than 113,000 acres in the state.

In southwestern Utah, the Sunrise wildfire threatened homes in the city of St. George Thursday. Firefighters were able to keep the blaze from burning any structures, but not before coming within one mile of some homes.

Major wildfires are also burning in Alaska, Montana, Nevada, and New Mexico. Extremely high temperatures are also plaguing much of the western U.S. as well, causing cases of heat exhaustion and other heat illnesses in firefighters.


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