TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Officials say a wildfire in southeast Arizona has burned more than 333 square miles and is 95 percent contained as of Monday morning.
About 918 firefighters are battling the 222,954-acre Horseshoe Two wildfire south of Portal. The fire crossed over a line early Wednesday in an area called the Saulsbury Saddle and firefighters moved in to construct hand lines.
As of Wednesday, the community of Whitetail was allowed to return home. West Turkey Creek along with Pinery Creek were able to return home over the weekend. The community of Paradise was allowed to return home last week.
Residents are asked to be extremely aware of falling trees due to windy conditions.
The Coronado National Forest closed at noon June 9 to all public due to extreme fire danger and concern for public safety. The closure will be lifted when there is significant moisture in the area to reduce the threat.
The U.S. Forest Service says the fire will continue to be visible to drivers along State Route 80. Officials ask that drivers use caution in the area.
Rumors are swirling about the origin of the massive wildfire. Some believe it was started by illegal immigrants from Mexico who were being chased by the Border Patrol.
While fire managers do know the Horseshoe Two is human-caused, they do not know exactly who is responsible for starting it nearly a month ago. According to a New York Times article published Wednesday, that little fact is not stopping some some residents of southeastern Arizona from feeding the rumor mill and assigning blame. (Read the New York Times article)
The blaze that to date has cost $47,618,204.