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Huge wildfire in Ariz. burns cabins

Associated Press / June 4, 2011

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TUCSON — One of the largest wildfires in Arizona history is torching cabins, forcing people to flee in the middle of the night, and sending smoke 200 miles away, as other fires burned in several Western states that did not immediately threaten any buildings.

The US Forest Service said yesterday that at least three summer rental cabins burned in the Wallow wildfire that was consuming dead and dry trees and brush in the White Mountains near the New Mexico border.

The Forest Service said about 800 firefighters are battling the blaze, and many are involved in protecting buildings in evacuated communities.

The Central Arizona chapter of the American Red Cross said between three and six cabins burned along with one mobile home, according to the Apache County Emergency Services.

The Forest Service said the Wallow fire has burned 165 square miles (105,600 acres) making it the fourth-largest wildfire in state history.

The Rodeo-Chediski fire burned 469,000 acres in 2002, the Cave Creek complex fire burned 248,000 acres in 2005, and the Willow fire burned 120,000 acres in 2004.

Residents in the scenic mountain community of Alpine were ordered to pack up and leave on Thursday night.

Smoke from the Alpine fire is carrying all the way to Albuquerque, more than 200 miles to the northeast.

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