Success, problems fighting Arizona firesPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The monument fire near Sierra Vista has exploded into a monster, burning everything in its path.
Thick clouds of smoke hover near Sierra Vista as the monument fire continues to grow. it shows no signs of stopping and Sierra Vista residents are holding their breath, hoping it slows its march forward.
Meanwhile, the fire has already consumed 40 homes and ten other structures.
Over 250 firefighters are doing all they can to quell the blaze, but the monument fire is putting up a fight of its own.
"The winds aren't being helpful, there's a lot of dry fuel in the mountains, the terrain is steep, it's all dependent on winds as to how fast its moving," said Denise Shultz.
Despite sunny conditions, high winds, up to 40 miles per hour, are helping move the fire along.
Crews are attacking by air and by ground, but progress has been slow.
Arizona 92 is closed and officials doing their best to warn those in the line of fire.
"Now we're just waiting. Watching the ridge behind us to see if the fire crests," said Joleen Lieberman.
Lieberman doesn't like what she sees in her backyard. The Monument is getting closer.
"It just engulfed the side of the mountain," said Lieberman.
The residents along Stump Canyon are packing up their belongings as the area is under mandatory evacuation.
"This is my house. I'm not gonna leave it without giving it the college try. I'm gonna hold out until the flames are right at our front door," said a resident.
Firefighters are hoping weather conditions improve in the next few days that would help them put out the blaze that much faster, but for now there are no signs of that happening.
Luckily containment is holding steady on the other fire burning in Cochise County.
Crews Wednesday kept lines around 60% of the month-old Horseshoe Two fire near Portal even as it grew to 184,000 acres.
Fire bosses allowed people from the community of Whitetail to return home, declaring that area safe and all structures within the Chiricahua National Monument protected.
Still erratic winds and spot fires remain a problem.
And there was great news Wednesday for Santa Cruz county residents as incident command on the Murphy Complex Fire declared it 100% contained at just over 68,000 acres.
At one point flames threatened some neighborhoods in Tubac but ultimately the only casualties proved to be the historic lookout in the Atacosa Mountains and an outhouse at Pena Blanca lake.
Meanwhile, two people face questioning about the cause of the massive wallow fire in eastern Arizona.
The U.S. Forest Service suspects they left a campfire unattended memorial day weekend.
At last check the flames had charred more than 478,000 acres, with 20% containment.
It's now the largest wildfire in Arizona history.
There was a small brush fire in Oro Valley early Wednesday afternoon. It happened near Moore Road and King Aire just west of La Canada.
There are homes in the area but the Golder Ranch Fire Department was able to put it out before it got too close.