PHOENIX — Homeowners in northern Arizona were given the green light to return Monday days after being displaced by a fast-moving wildfire, while residents more than 200 miles away fled their homes after a blaze forced an evacuation of a small mountain community overlooking Tucson.
By Monday, more than 850 firefighters had contained 75 percent of the fire that has scorched 43 square miles (111 square kilometers) near Prescott, authorities said. Fire crews were still working on containing the northern portion of the blaze, spokeswoman Tiffany Davila said.
Dana Mast, who evacuated her home in Dewey-Humboldt on Wednesday, tagged her animals with pink fluorescent paint and left the gates open so they could flee if needed.
“Wednesday night was the worst,” Mast said. “We had to leave, the slurry bombers were coming down on us.”
She later returned with trailers to finish evacuating her 70 animals, taking all but five chickens.
Yet bringing them all home once evacuations were lifted would prove to be another challenge. Mast returned to her home Saturday, and she has since spent what she called countless hours arranging to bring her donkeys, chickens, cows, dogs and other animals home.
Her home, which lies within 4 miles from the blaze, suffered roof damage and missing shingles from the intense wind and heat, Mast said.
In southern Arizona, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said Summerhaven and Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains were evacuated, but officials do not immediately know how many people were affected.
About 50 full-time residences were evacuated in the community as the fire burned about 22-square miles (57 square kilometers), spokesman Deputy Ryan Inglett said. There are hundreds of structures that are at risk, Inglett said.
Many homes and cabins on the mountain are summertime retreats where Tucson-area residents go to escape the desert heat.
The fire has scorched through grass, brush, and timber since it started Friday in foothills of Redington Pass, officials said. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
Firefighters on Monday were also battling wildfires in California, Utah, New Mexico and Washington state.
Crews in southern Utah were hoping to make progress on a wildfire that forced more than 1,500 people to flee homes and campsites since it started two weeks ago. In California, firefighters stopped the progression of a small wildfire that triggered evacuations in a rural area north of Fresno.
Associated Press writers Paul Davenport and Angie Wang contributed to this report