Some evacuees in Southwest return home from wildfires

first_imgAssociated PressPHOENIX — Some residents evacuated because of wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico were allowed to return to their homes Saturday, as firefighters battled strong winds and hot weather to try to keep more homes, dry forests and stretches of high desert from being consumed by the flames.With summer rains still weeks away, forecasters said fire crews across the Southwest would likely have little relief from the hot, windy weather that has dogged them for days. More high-wind warnings and fire weather watches were on tap for many areas through the weekend.In eastern Arizona along the New Mexico border, residents of Alpine were allowed to return to their homes Saturday morning. Greer residents still remain evacuated by the largest wildfire in Arizona’s history.The Wallow fire has consumed about 775 square miles, a little more than 500,000 acres, and more than 4,500 firefighters are trying to stop its advance. The blaze this week exceeded a 2002 fire that burned 732 square miles and destroyed 491 buildings. Despite its size, the latest fire has destroyed just 32 homes and four rental cabins.U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, who owns a home in Greer, was touring the fire area Saturday along with Sen. John McCain and Arizona congressmen Jeff Flake and Paul Gosar.last_img read more