Fast-growing fire destroys homes in northern Arizona

May 12, 2018

The Viewpoint Fire burns along Highway 89A, Friday morning, May 11, 2018 in Prescott Valley, Ariz. The fire, driven by a sustained wind, headed north into the Poquito Valley area. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier via AP)

CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — A quickly-growing wildfire in north-central Arizona destroyed two homes, up to a dozen outbuildings and was threatening another 400 structures Friday in a rural area near Prescott.

The blaze about nine miles (14 kilometers) south of Chino Valley was first reported before noon and had grown to 3 square miles (7 square kilometers) by late afternoon.

Tiffany Davila of the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management said in a news release that it’s possible three or four more homes in the Poquito Valley area have also been destroyed, and an additional 400 structures are threatened.

Evacuations for some communities were in place.

This is the second wildfire in the past several weeks that firefighters have fought during what many consider an early wildfire season. Another fire near Payson has burned over 25 square miles (64 square kilometers). That fire was started on April 27 by an abandoned illegal campfire.

Authorities are investigating what started the blaze that was reported Friday. They say dry conditions and gusty winds were hindering firefighting efforts for the over 200 personnel battling the blaze.

A state highway that had been closed because of the fire was reopened.

Update hourly