Posted 9:24 AM 5/14/2012 : Northern AZ wildfire grows, prompts evacuations
CROWN KING, Ariz. (AP) - Crews spent the weekend fighting several wildfires, including a 4 and ½ square-mile blaze in northern Arizona that prompted evacuations in a historic mining community.
Prescott National Forest spokeswoman Debbie Maneely said Monday that a fire about 4 miles north of the mountain town of Crown King has destroyed two buildings and one trailer. It ignited Sunday on private land next to the Prescott National Forest in the Bradshaw Mountains, north of Phoenix.
The area remained under a mandatory evacuation order, though Yavapai County sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said in a news release that most of the town's 350 residents had chosen to stay in the community of mostly summer homes.
Maneely said most residents likely were staying with family and friends. The American Red Cross reported five evacuees at a shelter in Mayer, Ariz.
Expected hot and windy weather could make containment difficult, Maneely said. A total of five wildfires in the state had charred more than 9 square miles by late Sunday, the Arizona Republic reported. The fires follow a recent warning from state land managers that hot temperatures and dry vegetation have created a very high fire risk in some areas.
Billowing smoke from the fire and another one to the west near Crown King could be seen in Phoenix, more than 50 miles south.
Authorities set up a command center in front of the Crown King General Store, where owner Carol Boles was making sandwiches for firefighters Sunday evening.
"Some of these guys didn't get their dinner before they were called up here," she said.
The fire overtook a portion of Crown King Road, making the road to the mountain town inaccessible, a sheriff's office statement said.
The state's other large fire, in an area more than 120 miles east of Phoenix, was spotted Saturday in Tonto National Forest, where it burned about 4 square miles. That blaze is about 20 miles south of Payson, a gateway town to mountains popular among Arizona campers.
The fire was moving northeast toward a wilderness area, Tonto National Forest spokesman David Albo said. No structures were threatened and the fire hasn't prompted evacuations. Authorities have yet to determine a cause.
Crews were also at a blaze believed to be sparked by lightning on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona. No structures were threatened by that fire, which has charred more than 480 acres.
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