- Associated Press - Saturday, May 20, 2017

GLOBE, Ariz. (AP) - Fire crews are protecting structures and other things of value but otherwise just largely monitoring a wildfire that has burned a square mile in the Pinal Mountains near Globe in east-central Arizona.

Officials say the fire started May 8 by lightning benefits the environment by removing leaves, needles, branches and other forest debris that is several thick feet in some places.

According to officials, the fire is in areas that haven’t seen fire since 1952.

Officials say burning debris will clear the forest floor for new plant growth that will feed birds and small animals which are food sources for predators.

They also say fuels being burned could support a high-intensity wildfire which could threaten homes and other structures as well as worsen ecological conditions in the forest.

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