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Wildfires burning in Arizona's Tonto forest

May 15, 2012 at 8:49 AM   |   Comments

PHOENIX, May 15 (UPI) -- Southwesterly winds Tuesday helped clear smoke from one of several fires consuming thousands of acres in Arizona.

David Albo with the Tonto National Forest said the smoke came from the still uncontained Sunflower Fire in the Tonto National Forest Monday evening, The Arizona Republic reported.

Flames consumed about 3,100 acres and police said they're still investigating its cause.

Air quality officials issued a health watch Monday for the Phoenix area, said Mark Shaffer of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

An ozone health watch issued Monday was extended into Tuesday because of high temperatures.

Other fires still burned across the state, including the Gladiator Fire, which forced nearly all residents of Crown King to evacuate their homes Monday, said Dwight D'Evelyn of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. Only about 12 homes in Crown King remained occupied. D'Evelyn said about 1,300 acres have burned so far. The blaze that was started by a house fire that ignited a propane tank. The fire was not contained early Monday.

On the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, the Bull Flat Fire burned more than 700 acres near the Canyon Creek Fish Hatchery, the Republic said. Officials said the fire was 45 percent contained Monday afternoon and could have been started by a lightning strike.

The Elwood Fire has burned 1,506 acres on the San Carlos Indian Reservation, Bureau of Indian Affairs official Duane Chapman said. It was 5 percent contained as of Monday afternoon, and the cause was under investigation.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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