07/20 - Officials close U.S. Highway 191 because of blazes - East Valley Tribune: News

07/20 - Officials close U.S. Highway 191 because of blazes

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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2003 7:52 am | Updated: 1:48 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

ALPINE - The Steeple and Largo fires, both started by lightning in eastern Arizona, had grown to cover 7,700 acres Saturday.

The two fires along with the Thomas fire, which burned earlier this summer, were being treated as a single fire called the Blue River Complex in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

Due to the blaze, U.S. Highway 191 remained closed between Alpine and Morenci.

The Thomas fire was contained June 18 at 10,618 acres but is now being treated as part of the larger fire.

‘‘It’s still skunking around in there,’’ said Debbie Santiago, a fire information officer.

Santiago said weather had been helping crews by keeping fire activity in check.

‘‘If Mother Nature holds, we’ll get some crews into that tough country and find some safe way to put her to bed,’’ Santiago added.

About 300 firefighters worked on the blazes, which were about 6 miles apart

from each other. Dorman McGann, spokesman for the forests, said crews were preparing for possible burn-outs.

The Largo fire had threatened about 30 structures Thursday, but mild winds and fire lines along the upper Blue River eliminated the threat Friday and Saturday. It is 60 percent contained. The Steeple fire is not contained.

SKELETON FIRE

DOUGLAS

• Crews monitoring a fire near here expect it to cease to be a concern by Sunday night.

The Skeleton fire was burning in a remote area in the Coronado National Forest.

The blaze has burned 4,500 acres 15 miles northeast of Douglas.

The fire showed little activity Saturday, said Jeff Herweg with the state land department.

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