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8:40 AM Thu, Dec. 13th

Mild winds, more crews help fight Arizona fire

PRESCOTT VALLEY (AP) – Another day of mild winds and 300 added personnel gives firefighters a good chance of building a larger perimeter around a northern Arizona forest fire.

About 1,100 firefighters are now attempting to contain a fire that forced the evacuation of thousands of residents from six Prescott-area communities and an additional 1,400 children from local summer camps.

Yavapai County spokesman Robert Church said containment remained at 43 percent. Officials lifted evacuation orders in one community and reopened a section of a state highway Friday morning.

The fire has since charred almost 40 square miles, though a fire official at a community meeting Thursday night estimated 45 square miles. Local officials guessed about four or five structures have been destroyed, but they don't know whether the structures are homes.

A southern Utah ski resort that’s newly reopened after being evacuated by the country’s largest wildfire is preparing for a more subdued July 4 celebration.

Brian Head resort spokesman Mark Wilder said they’re grateful to firefighters who kept the ski area largely untouched by the flames that have blackened more than 92 square miles. The usual fireworks display is also off the schedule this year.

He says the hundreds of residents allowed back to their homes Friday after two weeks of uncertainty are eager to start putting the pieces back together.

Town manager Bret Howser said people have been slowly trickling back into town and “good vibes” are in the air.