Ariz. wildfire sends smoke, haze into other states

SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. — Smoke from a large wildfire burning in the scenic mountain towns of eastern Arizona stretched into nearby states, creating hazy conditions in Iowa and prompting officials to issue health advisories today for the southern half of Colorado.

The 365-square-mile blaze has been burning in ponderosa forests for more than a week, destroying five buildings since it started May 29. It marched north Monday, aided by wind gusts of more than 60 mph.

The weather settled down overnight, the crews and their commanders know what’s in store.

“The bad news is it’s supposed to pick back up all the way through Thursday,” Joe Reinarz, commander of the team battling the fire, told an auditorium packed with residents of the mountain vacation towns late Monday.

“We’ve got about three or four days ahead of us right now that are going to try all of us,” he said before urging them to prepare for evacuations.

The fire has forced people to leave their homes in Alpine, Nutrioso and Greer, a picturesque town where most of the 200 full-time residents had already fled by the time deputies started going door-to-door. Authorities also ordered to leave anyone left in the nearby area known as Sunrise.



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