Forest firefighters in eastern Arizona said on Monday they had made major progress by containing 10 percent of the wildfire that has burned for 16 days and displaced thousands from their homes. Firefighters said they had managed to stop the advance of the fire, known as the Wallow fire, on populated areas in and around the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, and also carried out extensive charred brush and trees to remove them as potential fuel for the flames. “We’re gaining an upper hand, in terms of getting some lines around the fire and making sure the lines are secure,” said U.S. Forest Service Spokeswoman Suzanne Flory. The Wallow fire, believed to have been started by an unattended campfire, has already grown nearly as large as Arizona’s biggest fire on record, the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire. A total of 31 homes have been destroyed in the fire, while up to 7,000 have been evacuated.
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