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May 24, 2013 1:42 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Wildfire near Patagonia mostly under control

PATAGONIA - Firefighters believe they have the Soldier Basin Fire mostly under control.

People who live and work in the area went to a community meeting about the wildfire's status Thursday night. Operations Section Chief Darrell Miller thinks his crew has it mostly blocked.

"It should stay there," Miller said. "No guarantees ever, but we're feeling real confident this evening."

It is not threatening any homes and did not majorly damage the forest.

Ike Isakson is fighting the fire, and he is Patagonia's Mayor. He is not worried about it hurting his town's tourism.

"I don't think so," he said. "When we get the rains in July and August, and by September that mountain will probably look like green again."

The fire got into a patch of tall pine trees, but did not harm them. Isakson thinks, overall, the fire may have helped the forest.

"I think this fire is a good thing," he said, "and talking to the range managers and the Forest Service, this is probably something they would do as a controlled burn or as a prescribed burn."

The interior will probably keep smoldering until the monsoon rains.

Smoke should flow downhill toward Nogales the next few days.

Wednesday afternoon seemed to be the fire's climax, and some crews will start going home Friday.

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