Arizona brush fire prompts evacuations

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 18, 2015 3:43 AM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A wind-aided brush fire burned without containment near a small town in central Arizona late on Wednesday, forcing authorities to evacuate an estimated 300 residents from the area.

    Authorities ordered the evacuations of the roughly 100-unit Stevens Trailer Park and another 100 residences as the fire raged in a dry riverbed near the community of Kearny, about 90 miles (145 km) southeast of Phoenix.

   Initial reports indicated that at least two residences and two other structures, plus a vehicle, had been scorched, said Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division. There were no reported injuries.

    More than 200 firefighters were battling  the 300-acre (121 hectare) Kearny River Fire, which broke out at about 11 a.m. local time on Wednesday in an area heavy with salt cedar trees, officials said.

    There was no estimate as to when the fire would begin to be contained.

    "With the types of fuels and with the wind the way it is, there is really no best guess," Reichling told reporters. "We're doing everything we can to protect the property."

    A shelter has been set up at an elementary school in a nearby town for affected residents of the 2,000-person Kearny community, said Mark Clark, a Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

     Few residents had checked into the shelter, he said. 

(Editing by Curtis Skinner)