Firefighters battling Sunflower Fire catch break with wind

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by Andrew Michalscheck

Video report by Steve Ryan

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Updated Saturday, May 19 at 11:19 AM

PAYSON, Ariz. -- The strong winds blowing throughout the state have started helping firefighters battling the Sunflower Fire.

The wind shifted direction on Friday, forcing the blaze in on itself.

While the Sunflower Fire has yet to be completely contained, the fire lines have started to hold.

Mop up has begun on the southeast section of the fire near State Route 87.

Weekend travelers on highway 87 are being asked to obey the speed limit and be aware of emergency vehicles in the area.

The Sunflower Fire still covers 16,620 acres, but Clay Templin of the U.S. Forest Service said residents of nearby towns aren’t in any immediate danger.

Oxbow resident Stuart Jones echoed Templin’s statement.

“Well I haven’t seen very many people concerned. I do have my pickup hooked onto my 500 gallon water tank with a pump on it, just in case,” Jones remarked.

The Sunflower Fire is burning about 21 miles south of Payson.

There are almost 600 firefighters battling the fire, and they have contained about 33 percent of the blaze.

Officials continue to try to determine what started the fire.

For more information on the Sunflower Fire visit www.inciweb.org.

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