Firefighters Stop Forward Progress of Arizona Wildfire

At least 175 acres burned near Tonto Basin



PHOENIX (AP) — Firefighters reported stopping the forward progress of a wildfire that grew to 175 acres and threatened homes and businesses Monday afternoon near Tonto Basin northeast of Phoenix.

There was no immediate word on containment, however, and crews planned to watch the fire area overnight.

As a precaution, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office ordered the evacuations of about 50 homes involving some 100 people in the Tonto Basin area which is about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix.

At least one business that sells motor homes, RVs and boats also was threatened by the flames.

Arizona State Forestry officials said the wildfire started on private property and was human caused.

Tonto National Forest rangers responded to the wildfire along with fire engines and hand crews.

By 1 p.m. Monday, the wildfire had grown to 50 acres northwest of Roosevelt Lake and winds of up to 15 mph pushed the fire to 175 acres by 5 p.m.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation center in Payson.

State Route 188 was closed in both directions west of Punkin Center due heavy smoke and video from a TV news helicopter showed flames burning close to the highway.

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