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Wildfire in Arizona destroys 12 homes; 200 people were evacuated

DUDLEYVILLE, Ariz. (AP) – A small community in southern Arizona remained during an evacuation announcement Friday after crews and air tankers stopped the growth of a wildfire that burned at least 12 homes, officials said.

The fire burned through thick vegetation at the bottom of the Gila River in Dudleyville, a census site with a population of approx. 1,000, located about 97 miles north of Tucson.

Officials said the fire continued Thursday to an estimated 500 acres (2 square kilometers) enclosing about 20% of its perimeter as of Friday.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

The county sheriff̵

7;s office said that approx. 200 residents were evacuated and that evacuation notice might have been lifted Friday night or Saturday morning.

Crews on Friday continued to build fire lines to prevent the fire from spreading in Dudleyville, whose gusts of wind receded, but aid workers also needed to check for damage to power lines that were not energized Thursday, Tiffany Davila said , the Ministry of Forestry and Forest Management.

About 40 people spent the night in a shelter at a high school in a nearby community, Red Cross spokesman Mike Sagara said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries. Approx. 100 people were given the task of fighting the fire.

Arizona had one of its worst fire seasons in nearly a decade in 2020, according to forestry and fire officials.

Officials have warned that there is a potential for widespread state fire activity by June.

Among the factors for last year’s severe fire season were unusually hot conditions, lack of moisture, an abundance of fuel over Arizona’s central region and within the Sonoran Desert, and increased recreational traffic across the state.

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