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Winds a factor in big wildfire east of Phoenix

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Posted at 11:32 AM, Jun 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-22 19:34:51-04

SUPERIOR, Ariz. (AP) - Hot, dry winds fanned a wildfire in a national forest east of Phoenix, where fire officials say forecasts call for gusts to diminish.

A fire spokesman says about 700 homes remain evacuated because of the fire in Tonto National Forest near Superior and Roosevelt Lake.

No homes have been damaged, and no serious injuries are reported.

The fire grew from about 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) on Friday to nearly 125 square miles (325 square kilometers) on Saturday.

Fire spokesman Dick Fleishman says that includes areas charred by firefighters to starve the blaze of fuel.

Containment has been decreased to about 34%.

About 1,100 firefighters are aided by helicopters and air tankers, working to protect a hydropower dam and key high-voltage power lines supplying the Phoenix area.

Hot, dry winds are fanning a wildfire in a national forest east of Phoenix, but fire officials haven't ordered more residents to leave an area where than the 700 homes are already evacuated.

Fire spokesman Dick Fleishman said Saturday the fire in Tonto National Forest near Roosevelt Lake covers nearly 125 square miles (325 square kilometers), including areas charred by firefighters to starve the blaze of fuel.

That's up from about 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) reported Friday.

No homes have burned and no serious injuries are reported.

Fleishman says about 1,100 firefighters are battling flames in what he calls rugged "billy goat" country.

The fire is about 42% contained and burning north and east.

Smoke from the massive blaze has prompted health warnings in Arizona and New Mexico.