Arizona Wildfires

Jul 8, 2013 11:16 PM by Associated Press

Kearny wildfire burns home, prompts evacuations

KEARNY, Ariz. (AP) - A fire has erupted near a small Arizona town where Pinal County officials say a home burned down and the blaze threatened the local airport.

The lightning-sparked Shipman Fire near Kearney was reported about 5 p.m. Monday, Pinal County sheriff's officials said.

Pinal County Chief Deputy Steve Henry said the wildfire was burning through salt cedar trees in the dried-out San Pedro River bed. The fire was sending embers floating into Kearney and burning dangerously close to the local airport.

"The river is bone dry right now. There is no water in it so it's burning through there," Kearny Mayor Sam Hosler told the Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/170Ocja).

Crews had planned to work through the night to make advances on the blaze that claimed a ranch-style home and two other structures in a matter of hours, Henry said. No one was injured.

"I don't think they want to wait on the temperatures picking up in the morning," Henry said.

Temperatures were expected to rise just above 100 degrees in the area Tuesday, but possible showers and thunderstorms in the National Weather Service forecast would help firefighters' efforts.

Residents of a trailer park were evacuated Monday evening as a precaution, and the American Red Cross opened a shelter overnight at the Ray Elementary School in Kearny for them.

The fire reportedly grew to about 75 acres within an hour. The Republic reported the fire had spread across 300 acres by late Monday.

Kearny is east of Florence.

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