Arizona wildfire forces thousands of people from their homes

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The Goodwin Fire 14 miles south of Prescott has forced the evacuations of several communities as fire crews struggle with arduous conditions.

The blaze that began Saturday is in the area where 19 elite firefighters died four years ago battling another wildfire.

Local authorities are investigating the incident.

The Brian Head Fire in southern Utah has burned more 54,000 acres, an area bigger than the city of Washington, said CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen.

The fire near Prescott, about 100 miles (160.9 kilometers) north of Phoenix, grew slightly during the night but was better contained and would be aided by good weather, fire officials said Thursday.

The fire has charred 32 square miles while being fanned by winds ranging up to 35 mph.

Ducey announced he would be traveling to Yavapai County on Thursday to meet with officials, receive a full briefing and visit with people impacted by the fire. And in the days ahead, Davila says, "We are still going to see higher temperatures and windy conditions so all of that plays a part in how crews handle the fire".

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said the fire is the state's top priority.

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The latest updates show the Goodwin Fire has burned almost 25,000 acres in size and has forced the evacuation of several nearby areas.

Elsewhere across the western U.S., Utah firefighters braced for more high winds as they tried to slow a stubborn wildfire that has burned 13 homes and forced the evacuation of 1,500 people from a ski resort town.

Those statistics don't count any of the fires that began burning in June, including the 27 fires now burning across 11 states.

In Los Angeles County, fires that flared dangerously close to Hollywood Hills and Burbank homes have been knocked down.

"We called a general recall to staff additional equipment", Freitag said, "and that equipment is being utilized to protect properties within our fire district boundaries".

Overnight Tuesday through Wednesday morning, firefighters were establishing a perimeter around Mayer with bulldozers carving fire breaks. The fire was reported about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) west of Durango on Wednesday afternoon.

He said the critical fire area in the Southwest is expected to shrink on Thursday, but not for long.

2012 was the third worst year for wildfires, with 9.2 million acres (37231.1 square km) burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. It continues to burn around 40 thousand acres of rugged terrain in Arizona's Pinaleno Mountain Range.