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Arizona wildfire grows by 14K acres over hot weekend

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona wildfire that officials thought was coming under control has jumped containment lines and spread to nearly 27,000 acres.

The Cedar Fire near Show Low was 40 percent contained by Monday but extreme weekend temperatures in the state and winds in the burn area had pushed the acreage consumed to 26,739.

Winds from the north helped move the flames over the weekend, according to a report at the Incident Information System website.

But officials believe the change in direction — winds were now coming from the south — will slow the blaze.

Last Wednesday, the fire had burned less than 10,000 acres.

Lines were contained Friday but the heatwave that overwhelmed Arizona and other parts of the Southwest over the weekend spelled trouble for firefighters.

The mercury hit 118 in Phoenix on Sunday, breaking a record of 115 set for the date nearly 50 years ago.

The town of Forestdale was evacuated last week; Cedar Creek has joined Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, Hon-dah and McNary in pre-evacuation notification.

Nearly 800 personnel were battling the blaze. The effort included burnout operations along Highway 60 and Faught Saddle.

Two public meetings (another was held Monday morning in Pinetop) with fire-management officials have been scheduled this week for the affected communities:

• Monday, 6:30 p.m., Blue Ridge High School, Main Auditorium 1200 W. White Mountain Blvd., Lakeside

• Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Show Low City Hall, Council Chamber, 181 N. Ninth St.

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