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Officials tally damage in southern Arizona blaze
The Wallow fire has consumed 811 square miles, or 519,319 acres, and more than 3,500 firefighters were trying to stop its advance. It is larger than a 2002 fire that burned 732 square miles and destroyed 491 buildings that had been the largest in state history. Despite its size, the latest fire has destroyed just 32 homes and four rental cabins. Containment rose to 51 percent Sunday.
The Wallow fire, which is burning up much of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, is the largest of several wildfires burning in spots across the southwestern U.S. In other fires:
— Firefighters working to contain a massive wildfire in East Texas expected unusually hot and windy weather Monday, a day after several blazes broke out across the state and destroyed more than three dozen homes. Hundreds of people were told to evacuate after fires swept through eastern and central parts of the state.
— California firefighters are battling a wildfire that has burned nearly 8 square miles of grassland on a westward run from a Kern County oil field to a remote area of eastern San Luis Obispo County. One structure has been destroyed. The blaze was 20 percent contained early Monday and had burned 5,068 acres since it started Sunday evening.
— A fire burning nine miles north of Santa Fe, N.M., had burned about 3,000 acres by Monday and was being driven northeast into the Pecos Wilderness, the U.S. Forest Service said. The fire broke out Saturday and was not threatening any structures. Fire managers plan to use water-dropping helicopters and air tankers as long as the weather permits Monday. The wind was expected to gust up to 30 mph, far less than the 50 mph firefighters dealt with Sunday.
— A new wildfire ignited Sunday in north-central Arizona that officials said could threaten power lines running to Phoenix as well as some scattered ranches in coming days. Eric Neitzel, spokesman for the Show Low fire department, said late Sunday night that the blaze, about 40 miles northeast of Payson, Ariz., had burned about 500 acres.
— Another wildfire in Cochise County, Ariz., called Horseshoe Two was 80 percent contained after charring about 213,511 acres — nearly 334 square miles. It has destroyed 23 structures since it started May 8.
— A fire burning on both sides of the New Mexico-Colorado border outside of Raton, N.M., was 90 percent contained and evacuations had all been lifted. The fire apparently was started June 12 by engine exhaust from an all-terrain vehicle trespassing on railroad property.
— Authorities in southern New Mexico were looking for “persons of interest” as they searched for the cause of a fire that burned several homes in the wooded community of Ruidoso, N.M.
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