PAYSON, Ariz., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Authorities Monday ordered the evacuation of about 500 homes north of Payson, Ariz., as the Water Wheel Fire spread in Tonto National Forest.
The fire grew to 500 acres late Sunday and spread further Monday but firefighters did not have an estimate of the fire's scope by midday Monday, The Arizona Republic reported. The fire was 10 percent contained, authorities said.
There was no word on when people would be able to return to their homes in two subdivisions north of Payson, the newspaper said.
The fire was first observed about 2 p.m. Sunday near the Water Wheel Campground 13 miles northeast of Payson.
The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center, where an official said about 130 people had signed up to stay at the facility early Monday.
Rick Hartigan, a spokesman for the central Arizona incident management team, said firefighters got some help Monday morning from light winds. The forecast called for thunderstorms in the area Monday afternoon but storms in the region are sometimes windy and dry.
Two air tankers, a helicopter and 15 engines were fighting the fire, authorities said.