Rio Rico Murphy fire concerns begin to ease

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rio Rico was a murky haze Monday as smoke from the Murphy and Pajarita fire blanketed the area.  Rio Rico Tuesday was mostly blue skies and clear vistas.

Non-stop air support is one reason Rio Rico is in better shape.

"Pena Blanca lake here is a nice big lake and these big helicopters need a lot of room to work," said Division Supervisor Jeff Hinson.

A helicopter arrives every eight minutes to fill up with 2600 gallons of water in just 30 seconds.

"All that west side is pretty much getting wrapped up in mop up stage.  We're just holding and searching and destroying smokes," said Hinson.

Now firefighters can focus on the fire's east side.

"This whole area was a huge cloud of smoke," said Santa Cruz County Supervisor Rudy Molera.

Molera lives off Ruby Road, which was blocked off when the merging fires closed in.

"People were very fearful a lot of rumors going around and everyone was asked to at least pack their private belongings," said Molera.

The fire has grown in size, but the people who live in Rio Rico feel relief.

"I want to personally compliment all the crews that were out there.  You could tell they worked very hard and their efforts obviously paid off," said Molera.

Ruby Road remained blocked off as of Tuesday night.

Near Pena Blanca much of the area is burned out.  Some of that from the wildfire and some from firefighters trying to create a barrier to protect this community.