Progress in Battle with Ferocious US Wildfire

Posted June 10th, 2011 at 9:30 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Fire crews are making progress in the fight against a raging wildfire in Arizona that has forced around 10,000 people to flee their homes.

Authorities said Friday they had managed to create a containment barrier around about five percent of the fire — an improvement since early Thursday when the fire was “zero percent” contained.

Firefighters say favorable weather, including lighter winds, have boosted their efforts to slow the fire's spread. But forecasters say strong winds are expected to return Saturday.

Some 3,000 firefighters are working on the ground and from the air to douse the flames and create buffer zones to protect populated areas. More than 1,500 square kilometers has already burned, destroying at least 29 homes.

The fire, which began more than a week ago, is the second largest in Arizona's history and is now threatening to cross the border into New Mexico.

The blaze has sent smoke as far east as the state of Iowa and has forced planes to divert. Strong winds are helping carry the smoke.

Authorities have not determined the cause of the fire.