Three Arizona Homes Destroyed in Fire Along San Pedro River

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- While rain that fell on a large wildfire in southeastern Arizona bolstered firefighting efforts, a weekend of thunderstorms sparked other dangerous new wildfires around the state.

The most serious was a fast-moving, 250-acre fire along the San Pedro River that destroyed three homes and 10 unoccupied outbuildings.

The Indian Hills Fire was burning some 50 miles north of Tucson near Winkelman.

The fire also triggered the evacuation of a mobile home park about 30 miles northeast of Oracle in Dudleyville, said Judy Wood, a fire information officer for the Arizona State Land Department.

Aircraft and ground crews were working to contain the blaze as it burned along Arizona 77 and the river. The wind and fire had died down by Sunday night and firefighters had gathered to reassess the situation, Wood said.

''Typically, a fire will lay down at night, provided there isn't any additional wind,'' she said.

It's unclear whether the Indian Hills Fire was human- or lightning-caused.

The biggest fire remained the 22,000-acre Florida fire. Until this weekend the intensity of the Florida fire, 11 miles east of Green Valley, forced crews to fight the blaze from a distance. But the fire's progress was slowed by storms that dropped nearly a half inch of rain on portions of the blaze Saturday.

Though the fire remained a half-mile from a small number of homes in Madera Canyon and a mile from the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, the threat was lessened.

''The fire activity has diminished, but it's not out,'' said fire information officer Rick Hartigan.

Meanwhile, about 150 personnel were released from the Florida fire to work on other lightening-sparked blazes across the state.

The 872 people still working on the fire continued to build protection lines around it, which was 50 percent contained. There was no estimate for full containment of the fire, which started by lightning July 7.

In central Arizona's Prescott National Forest, crews and air tankers were attacking two lightning-sparked fires.

The Butte Fire, located 13 miles southwest of Camp Verde, already had burned 1,750 acres. The Arnold Fire, 10 miles south-southwest of Camp Verde, had reached 200 acres.

Both fires were burning through grasses and juniper woodlands, but neither threatened any structures, said Debbie Maneely, a Prescott National Forest spokeswoman.

Information from: Arizona Daily Star