Jun 20, 2011 1:29 PM

Authorities counting lost homes near Sierra Vista

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities say they are trying to determine how many homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed when winds pushed a fire south of Sierra Vista into neighborhoods.

Winds gusts of 50 mph pushed the Monument fire down a mountain and across Highway 92 on Sunday afternoon, forcing 1,700 homes to be evacuated.

Fire spokesman Bill Paxton said Monday that the Cochise County Sheriff's Office was counting the lost structures. He says those with plenty of defensible space had a better chance of surviving.

The fire has now burned 42 square miles or nearly 27,000 acres since it broke out on June 12. At least 44 homes had been lost before Sunday.

Much lighter winds are expected Monday. Paxton says that will allow air tankers to again attack the flames.

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