UPDATE: Some Ariz. residents refuse to flee big fire
SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. (AP) -
Springerville, Ariz. resident Wink Crigler says, "I've never in my life seen anything like this."
Eastern Arizona's 639 square-mile forest fire is getting close to her ranch, but Crigler says she's staying put because she has animals to feed. She says she has a watering system that keeps the ground wet.
Some 10,000 residents have fled Arizona's second largest fire in the state's history, but officials are worried about the firefighters and the residents who've stayed. The tiny particles of soot in the air have reached levels that could seriously affect their health.
Calmer winds have helped firefighters gain some ground, but the blaze is getting closer to the New Mexico state line and stronger winds are in the forecast. Firefighters say the fire could cross into New Mexico sometime today, endangering two major power lines that bring electricity from Arizona to West Texas.
Crigler, who's watching the fire from a window in her home, says all she can do right now is sit tight and hope for a summer rain season that comes soon.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)