PAYSON, Ariz. — Air tankers and crews on the ground are trying to slow the growth of a wildfire burning north of Payson.

Fire officials say the blaze has charred about 2.1 square miles since it started Saturday. Its cause is unknown and remains under investigation.

The fire is burning grass, brush, downed ponderosa pine and mixed conifer.

Officials say nearly 650 firefighters were working Wednesday to hold the wildfire above the Mogollon Rim and remove any unburned fuels.

They say a pre-evacuation notification remains in effect for residents in Bonita Creek Canyon.

The fire is burning in the scar of a 1990 wildfire that charred 37.5 square miles, destroyed 60 homes and killed six firefighters.

That blaze began on June 25, 1990 and wasn’t controlled until nearly a week later.

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