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The Latest: Precautionary evacuations mount in Arizona fire

June 22, 2019

SUPERIOR, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on a major wildfire burning in Arizona (all times local):

7:40 p.m.

A wildfire in rugged country east of Phoenix that has forced evacuation orders for about 700 homes.

Gila County spokesman Josh Beck said Friday evening that those evacuations occurred stretching south from Roosevelt Lake in the Tonto National Forest.

There were no reports of structures burning, and fewer than a dozen people sought shelter at public facilities.

The fire was about 42 percent contained on Friday evening as its footprint extended across more than 100 square miles (260 square kilometers).

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12:50 p.m.

Air quality has deteriorated as smoke from a wildfire east of Phoenix drifts across eastern Arizona and the state of New Mexico.

The National Weather Service office in Albuquerque said to expect widespread reductions in visibility across large portions of western and central New Mexico.

Satelite-style maps of the plume show thick smoke wafting across communities including Gallup, Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

About 250 homes have been evacuated as crews battled a human-triggered fire in the Tonto National Forest near Roosevelt Lake.

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9:50 a.m.

Firefighters battling a wildfire in rugged country east of Phoenix that has forced about 250 homes to be evacuated expect another day of rapid growth as low humidity and strong winds drive the blaze.

The human-caused wildfire in the Tonto National Forest near Roosevelt Lake has grown to more than 100 square miles (259 sq. kilometers) since it started June 8. Officials said Friday morning that it remains just 42% contained and is burning unchecked to the east.

The command team coordinating the fight said crews are protecting structures in the communities of Top of the World and the Roosevelt area.

Gila County authorities ordered about 200 Roosevelt and Roosevelt Lakes area residents to evacuate Thursday. The homes are within a 12-mile radius of the popular Roosevelt Lake recreation area.

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