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Wind Swells Grand Canyon Fire

May 16, 2000

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) _ Dry, gusting wind pushed flames from an out-of-control ``prescribed burn″ away from the Grand Canyon and deeper into the Kaibab National Forest on Tuesday.

The wildfire had burned more than 10,000 acres north of the Grand Canyon. The fire was set three weeks ago to help rejuvenate forested areas and prevent wildfires, but last week’s high winds pushed it out of control.

Firefighters had the blaze 43 percent contained Tuesday, but wind gusts up to 50 mph were spread flaming embers and pushing the fire, Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Catherine Land said.

It was not expected to threaten any structures as long as it continued moving north, she said.

The fire was about 20 percent contained within the park’s boundaries, but it remained out of control as it headed northeast into Forest Service lands, park spokesman Robert Spoelhof said.

The fire was set April 25 as a prescribed burn to remove brush and grass on about 1,500 acres, but strong winds last week drove the fire through the prescribed burn area. By Thursday, it was in the park and Kaibab National Forest to the north.

The fire wasn’t threatening stores, housing or a lodge on the North Rim and firefighters had that edge of the fire contained, Land said. Visitors to the area were evacuated last week as a precaution. The South Rim, where the vast majority of park visitors go, remained open.

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