Desert Fire Reaches 20,000 Acres, Falls Short of Another Desert Town
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) _ Winds that had been driving a desert brush fire toward a small town died down Sunday night, sparing homes from the blaze and allowing firefighters to get the upper hand.
Some 500 firefighters labored in 110-degree heat earlier in the day to head off the blaze, which had burned across at least 20,000 acres since it began Friday.
On Saturday, the fire barely missed a golf course and million-dollar homes in the northern part of this city of 150,000 people.
Winds up to 15 mph eased late Sunday and crews were able to dig out fire lines to keep the blaze from getting closer than about two miles to Fountain Hills, a town of about 20,000 people, many of them retirees, built around an artificial lake northeast of this Phoenix suburb.
No evacuations had been ordered.
The fire was 90 percent contained Sunday with full containment expected Monday night, a day earlier than previously thought, said Dave Killebrew, a spokesman for the various city and state agencies fighting the blaze.
Firefighters were helped by seven tanker planes that dropped water and slurry.
Lightning was believed to have started the fire Friday night in the McDowell Mountains.
Some 300 luxury homes were evacuated late Friday, most clustered near the exclusive Troon Golf and Country Club. Most residents were allowed to return Saturday afternoon after the wind eased.
The fire got no closer than a few feet away from any of the homes, authorities said.
Three firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. The only structural damage reported was to an unoccupied horse trailer.