- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) - The Latest on a southern Arizona wildfire (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

A new estimate based on recent mapping doubles the size of a southern Arizona wildfire to 62.5 square miles (161.9 sq. kilometers).

The most recent previous estimate for the fire burning grass, brush and trees in and around the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson had it at 31.2 square miles.

Officials had said before the new estimate was released Wednesday afternoon that they expected aerial mapping would provide a better calculation of the fire’s size.

11:15 a.m.

Cochise County authorities are keeping an eye on a wildfire and keeping keep pre-evacuation notices in place through the weekend for hundreds of dwellings in rural areas west of Benson.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas says most of the fire has been in eastern Pima County but that it has burned eastward about a half-mile into Cochise County.

Fire management officials say reduced winds Wednesday is expected to help the firefighting effort as ground crews connect and bolster containment lines around the fire’s perimeter.

The fire has burned 31.2 square miles (80.81 sq. kilometers) of grass, brush and trees since starting Sunday about 10 miles southeast of Green Valley.

Officials say there was no lightning so the fire was human-caused and that U.S. Forest Service law enforcement personnel are investigating the specific cause.

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925 a.m.

The prioress of 11 nuns evacuated from their southern Arizona abbey because of a large wildfire says it was an inconvenience but also a “wonderful experience” because of the kindness shown by area residents who took in evacuees.

Sister Victoria Murray says she and other nuns were allowed to return to the Santa Rita Abbey a day after they had to leave Monday because of the fire burning in and around the Santa Rita Mountains.

The nuns went to an evacuation center at fairgrounds in nearby Sonoita (so-NOY’-tah) where local residents flocked to offer shelter to the evacuees.

The nuns all stayed at a bed-and-breakfast.

Murray says the fire got within about a 1.5 mile of the abbey, close enough to be an imminent threat if winds changed to push the fire toward the abbey.

She says they were allowed to return Tuesday when the fire moved further away and in another direction.

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8:30 a.m.

The management team overseeing ground crews, fire engines and aircraft battling a southern Arizona wildfire has been upgraded and is going to be upgraded again.

The Type 3 team that was managing the fire burning in and around the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson was replaced late Tuesday by a high-level Type 2 team, and the Type 2 itself is going to be replaced by a Type 1 team.

Spokesman Manny Cordova of the Type 2 team says the changes are being made because of the fire’s complexity. He says the higher level teams have more personnel and more experience in fighting large and complex fires.

The Type 1 team is scheduled to take over some time after it’s briefed on the fire’s status Wednesday afternoon

The fire has burned 31.2 square miles (80.8 sq. kilometers) of grass, brush and trees since starting Sunday about 10 miles southeast of Green Valley.

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7:40 a.m.

The weather is expected to give firefighters a southern Arizona wildfire a break Wednesday before winds pick up again.

The fire has burned 31.2 square miles (80.8 sq. kilometers) of grass, brush and trees in and around the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson since starting Sunday.

Fire management team spokesman Manny Cordova says winds Tuesday were 35 mph but Wednesday are expected to only range between 8-12 mph. before picking up later in the week. He says crews are working to connect lines of cleared areas to stop the fire’s growth.

Cordova says an estimated 100 people have been evacuated. There have no reports of structural damage or injuries.

Nearly 390 people are assigned to the fire along with multiple aircraft and dozens of fire engines.

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