Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2003

Nearly 70,000 acres burned by wildfires

June 19, 2003

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— Homes and businesses were evacuated in a mountain community because of a wildfire feeding on pine forest ravaged by drought and bark beetles.

About 150 acres had burned by Wednesday near the hamlet of Summerhaven, on Mount Lemmon outside Tucson, said fire information officer Marylee Peterson. The fire started Tuesday about two to three miles from Summerhaven.

By afternoon, flames had drawn to within a mile or less of the community, said Forest Service spokesman Randall Smith. Still, the fire was not advancing as quickly as it had earlier.

All residences and businesses in Summerhaven were evacuated late Tuesday. About 20 fire trucks were posted in the southern Arizona community Wednesday, Peterson said.

Elsewhere, a blaze in the Sierra Nevada near Carson City, Nev., had been contained after burning 1,200 acres and closing a highway to Lake Tahoe.

The nation's two largest wildfires had blackened a total of nearly 70,000 acres in southwestern New Mexico, but they were low-intensity blazes being managed for the benefit of the forest, officials said.

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