Arizona Firefighters Conduct Mop-up, Rehab in Areas Hit by Huge Fire

Some crews were clearing out and others worked Tuesday to restore areas that had been torn up to make firebreaks as firefighters fought to tame a mammoth wildfire in central Arizona.


PHOENIX (AP) -- Some crews were clearing out and others worked Tuesday to restore areas that had been torn up to make firebreaks as firefighters fought to tame a mammoth wildfire in central Arizona.

The Cave Creek Complex fire, the second-largest wildfire in state history, covered 245,310 acres by Tuesday night.

Fire officials said the south zone was at 212,800 acres but 95 percent contained with the north zone at 32,510 acres and 60 percent contained.

''We're in transition, from put the fire out to recover from the fire,'' said John Bearer, a spokesman for the crews battling the blaze.

Bearer said crews were repairing the damage done to the terrain as firefighters dug firebreaks to keep the flames from spreading.

''They're making the (bull) dozer lines and hand lines that were dug look more natural,'' he said.

On the north end, firefighters began to leave.

''They're already doing demobilization out there, particularly to engines since the threat to communities has diminished,'' said Rob Deyerberg, another fire spokesman.

About 1,000 people were still fighting the fire overall.

No communities were being threatened by the blaze.

The Cave Creek Complex fire began as two lightning-sparked fires on June 21 near Cave Creek and within days had forced the evacuations of some 250 homes northeast of Phoenix. Eleven homes and three storage sheds were destroyed in that area.

On the Net:

National Interagency Fire Center: www.nifc.gov

Cave Creek Fire: fireteam-sw.com/whitney/cavecreek