Az fire partially contained

Had forced evacuations of hospital and dozens of homes

WHITERIVER, AZ (UPI) | May 8, 2011


A wildfire in central Arizona that forced the evacuation of a hospital and scores of homes was about 30 percent contained Sunday morning, authorities said.

Named the Locust Fire, it covered about 300 acres Sunday, fire agencies told The White Mountain Independent of Show Low, Ariz.

The fire began Friday on a ridge along the west side of Whiteriver and was about 70 percent contained by Saturday morning but then jumped northward. About 80 homes and the Indian Health Services Hospital in Whitewater were evacuated.

The fire spread to more than 500 acres after backfires were set to keep the flames away from homes at the base of the mountain. Much of the town of Whitewater's power was cut during the back burning.

Saturday evening, evacuation orders were lifted for some 200 people in nearby communities, The Arizona Republic reported.

The National Weather Service has issued a "red flag" warning of extreme fire risk due to warm temperatures, high winds and low humidity for the area through 9 p.m. Sunday.

White Mountain Apache Tribal Police are investigating the fire cause.

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