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AZ fires spread

A new wildfire in central Arizona threatened at least 100 homes Sunday morning.

BY SUSAN KIM | PRESCOTT, Ariz. | July 6, 2003

A new wildfire in central Arizona threatened at least 100 homes Sunday morning. The blaze was spreading near the community of Prescott, according to Prescott National Forest spokesperson Steven Sams.

The fire, fueled by ponderosa pine, ignited Saturday night had covered more than 60 acres as of 10 a.m. Sunday.

Prescott is home to some 34,000 people who saw six homes burned in their community by a wildfire last year.

Meanwhile the Aspen Fire now more than two weeks old and some 70,000 acres was still spreading in the mountaintops of southern Arizona. On Sunday morning that blaze was threatening another subdivision outside Tucson in Willow Canyon.

Fire crews were setting backfires and clearing brush to defend homes. A University of Arizona observatory was also in danger were, as were several television communication towers and a few youth camps.

The Aspen Fire, 55 percent contained as of Sunday morning, has already destroyed 317 homes in the Summerhaven area.

Summerhaven has about 100 year-round residents. Some faith-based disaster response groups are assessing damages in that area to see whether long-term recovery assistance will be needed.

The weather with almost no wind was helping fire fighters in both Arizona and New Mexico Sunday, according fire operations reports.

In northern New Mexico, fire fighters were able to gain more control over a blaze that burned within a half mile of Taos Pueblo.

In California, a fire that had temporarily threatened homes about 25 miles north of Los Angeles was more than 50 percent contained Sunday morning. In the southern part of that state, a 30-acre brush fire was spreading across the Sespe Condor Sanctuary in Ventura County.

This year wildfires have burned about 905,000 acres, less than one-third the acreage that burned during the same period last year.

Church World Service and its partners are still involved in long-term recovery efforts associated with last summer's fires in northeast Arizona. The first fire was the Rodeo fire started on June 18. The second fire was the Chediski fire started June 20. These fires merged to form an inferno that burned 540 homes and 469,322 acres of national forest lands and private lands.

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