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Jun 21, 2011 12:11 PM

Monument Fire now 40 pct. contained

SIERRA VISTA - The Monument Fire has grown to 27,190 acres, and is now 40 percent contained by a crew of 1,097 personnel, according to the latest update form incident officials.

Twenty-two crews, including 108 fire engines, 8 helicopters, 10 air tankers and four dozers are fighting the blaze burning in the Huachuca Mountains since June 12.

Last night, planned burning operations were carried out from Ft. Huachuca to the south to the north side of Ramsey Canyon, officials say. Today, crews will prepare for continued burning operations south across Ramsey Canyon into the evening. This operation will remove fuel between the fire and the communities to the east.

Weather is expected to be favorable for crews to "herd" the fire over the next few days, which is the best alternative for minimizing damage to wildlife habitat, officials say. Some evacuations have been lifted, so motorists should be prepared for increased traffic in the area of the fire.

Another information meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at the Buena Performing Arts Center at 5225 Buena School Blvd. in Sierra Vista. Information bulletin boards are set up in the following areas: evacuation centers, the food court at the Sierra Vista Mall, and the Windemere Hotel; fact sheets are maps are posted throughout Sierra Vista, Bisbee, Palominas, and Huachuca City. For up-to-date evacuation information, please call the Joint Information Center at 1-800-288-3861.

Fire danger remains extreme due to dry conditions, and Coronado National Forest remains closed to all visitors.

Pictured: Firefighters working in the Monument Fire smoke as fire comes out of Miller Canyon near Hereford Rd. Credit: Northern Rockies IMT

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