Arizona's second largest ever wildfire, dubbed the Wallow Fire, continues to burn out of control for the tenth day and threatens two towns near New Mexico.
Over two thousand fire fighters continue to battle the massive blaze as it edges northwards towards the towns of Eager and Springfield in Arizona's White Mountains, threatening their 7,500 residents.
Over 500 residents were already evacuated from Eager on Tuesday afternoon.
Sergeant Richard Guinn, a spokesman for the Apache County Sheriff's Office said:
"At this point, we need people to get out so we're sure everyone will be safe," he told Reuters. "Now we've reached that trigger point."
By midday Tuesday, fire officials said the so-called Wallow Fire had charred more than 311,000 acres of tinder-dry ponderosa pine forests since it erupted on May 29, and now ranks as the second-largest wildfire in Arizona's history.
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No one has been hurt, and reported property losses have been limited to only 10 buildings. But Governor Jan Brewer said that as many as 3,000 people have been forced from their homes. On Monday she declared a state of emergency for two counties.
The state's largest wild lands blaze on record, the Rodeo-Chediski fire in eastern Arizona, blackened almost 469,000 acres (190,000 hectares) in 2002.
The fire remains out of control but fire officials say they hope to start being able to contain it by the end of this week, although such predictions depend on the right weather conditions. High winds, with gusts of 18 mph are currently reported.
Flights into the area have been disrupted and an air quality alert has been issued in the state of New Mexico.
07 June 2011