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Firefighters Near Phoenix Battle Wildfire As Temperatures Surpass 100F

A wildfire north-east of Phoenix has, as of Saturday, threatened scores of homes, forced dozens of residents to evacuate and required more than 200 firefighters to battle it.

No structures have been damaged as the wildfire has traversed nearly 6 sq miles (15 sq km) on the cusp of the Boulder Heights subdivision of Scottsdale, said Matthew Wilcox, spokesperson for a multi-agency wildfire response team.

There were 275 people combatting the fire Saturday as temperatures surpassed 100F (38C) before midday, with wind gusts expected in the afternoon.

“We still have unseasonably high humidity, hot weather,” Wilcox said. “We have no wind right now, but gusts were predicted.”

In an update released on Saturday morning, the multi-agency wildfire response team said that crews will “especially focus on the southeast part of the fire due to residences at risk and wind direction”.

A firetruck leaves the area as the Boulder View fire is nearly under control in Scottsdale, Maricopa county, Arizona, on 28 June 2024. Photograph: Go Nakamura/ReutersIt also warned residents against flying drones, saying: “Firefighting aircraft and drones are a dangerous combination. Drones in the area could lead to accidents or slow down wildfire suppression operations. If you fly … we can’t.”

Air tankers and helicopters have helped douse flames from the sky above the Boulder View fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. It began about 5 miles (8km) east of Carefree, just outside northern Scottsdale on the edge of the Tonto National Forest.

Sixty homes north of Dove Valley Road and east of 136th Street were placed into “GO, evacuate status”, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the city of Scottsdale announced on Saturday that the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a permanently protected desert habitat, would remain closed north of Dynamite Boulevard. The closure began on Friday “due to the unpredictability of the Boulder View fire”, officials said.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at a high school in Scottsdale, and shelters for horses and other large animals were established at several locations, including the rodeo grounds at nearby Cave Creek.

According to Sunny Parker, founder of the non-profit Arizona Foothills 911, who spoke to AZ Central, volunteers were helping transport goats, chickens, pigs and more than a dozen horses.

A burnt field next to a residential area in Scottsdale on 28 June 2024. Photograph: Go Nakamura/ReutersAccompanying Parker are also several tortoises and a tarantula, AZ Central reported. She added that veterinarians are on call to help the animals and that the non-profit is prepared to shelter as many as 200 horses on rodeo grounds.

In central California, increasing temperatures and low relative humidity this weekend could result in worsening wildfire conditions for the Fresno June lightning complex. The complex – made up of three large fires in eastern Fresno county as well as several smaller fires – was nearly 17 sq miles (44 sq km) and 42% contained by Saturday morning. One structure was confirmed destroyed, and evacuation orders remained in place.

To the north, the Apache fire in Butte county had destroyed 14 structures and damaged two others since Monday. The blaze was 1 sq mile (2.8 sq km ) and 95% contained by Saturday morning.

Crews were making good progress Saturday on the Darlene 3 fire in central Oregon. It was holding at 6 sq miles (15 sq kilometers) and was 50% contained Saturday morning.

The weather has helped firefighting efforts. Low winds, cooler temperatures and high humidity at night all contributed to the firefighters’ progress. It also allowed the Deschutes county sheriff’s office to lower the evacuation level for Newberry Estates from level 3 to level 2. All other evacuation notices have been lifted for the area west of Highway 97.

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