Crews claim 'upper hand' on Soldier Basin fire - Tucson News Now

Crews claim 'upper hand' on Soldier Basin fire

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Crews say they're getting the upper hand on a wild-fire northeast of Nogales, even though people are seeing more smoke.

The Soldier Basin fire has burned more than 10,700 acres and it's 55 percent contained.

Crews have been working to stop it from spreading to the north where homes are located.

The fire line of the Soldier Basin fire is where the fire got up to yesterday, thanks to the gusty winds. No one was expecting it to get this close to homes but firefighters were prepared.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you. God bless firefighters," said Cindy Mohr, one resident who is ready for evacuation.

Mohr is very grateful. She said there were some tense moments on Wednesday night when flames got a little too close to home. The fire crept up toward her backyard.

"They told me I had 15 minutes to pack, then came back and said it's under control."

The plumes of smoke were visible miles away in Rio Rico, even during the daylight. At night, you can actually see those flames.

"It looked like a volcano. [It] actually looked like a volcano at night," said Rio Rico resident Christian Villegas.

Apart from the gusty winds, firefighters say this is one tough fire to fight because just getting to it may be the biggest challenge.

"I know that the Payson hot shot crew hiked 12 miles after dark. Some are walking four miles before they can even start to work," said Chief Les Caid with the Rio Rico Fire District.

"As you know, it's hot and dry out there. They're walking in tough terrain, dealing with branches, fire and snakes."

The next two days are expected to be crucial. Hot, dry and windy conditions will have firefighters closely monitoring the situation and they are prepared. 

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