Fire crews containing deadly Ariz. fire; VP Biden to attend memorial

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by Hannah Dreier, Associated Press Writer

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 7:32 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 8 at 10:56 PM

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- Even as there are more signs of progress in the fight against the Arizona wildfire that killed 19 firefighters near the town of Yarnell, the White House has announced that Vice President Joe Biden will attend Tuesday's memorial for the Hotshots.

Fire crews have contained enough of the wildfire, which has been burning since last weekend, that they've begun sending crews home and are preparing to let evacuated residents return to the small town of Yarnell.

On Friday, 550 firefighters were fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire, now 80 percent contained. That's down from 680 firefighters the day before.

Remaining crews are working on building more fire lines in the rugged, rocky terrain and making sure the blaze doesn't spread.

Erratic winds sent the fire out-of-control on Sunday, killing 19 elite Hotshot firefighters.

The blaze also has destroyed more than 100 homes in Yarnell and burned about 13 square miles.

Evacuated residents of Peeples Valley were allowed to return home Thursday evening.

Authorities hope to allow Yarnell residents to return home on Saturday.

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