Crews claim 'upper hand' on Soldier Basin fire

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Crews say they're gettingthe upper hand on a wild-fire northeast of Nogales, even though people areseeing more smoke.

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

Crewshave been working to stop it from spreading to the north where homes arelocated.

The fire line of theSoldier 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 wereprepared.

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

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

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

The plumes of smoke were visiblemiles away in Rio Rico, even during the daylight. At night, you can actuallysee those flames.

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

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

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

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

Thenext two days are expected to be crucial. Hot, dry and windy conditions willhave firefighters closely monitoring the situation and they are prepared.

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