PAYSON, Ariz. – Twenty-one evacuees of a small northern Arizona community and a Bible camp were allowed to return home Sunday morning after firefighters decided a 4,000-acre wildfire was no longer a threat.
The residents were evacuated Wednesday after erratic winds from two thunderstorms pushed the Promontory fire within a mile of their homes. The fire was burning 18 miles east of Payson.
But fire crews were able to build a line surrounding the fire and hold it over the weekend, said fire spokeswoman Lori Cook. It was 80 percent contained Sunday morning, with full containment expected by Tuesday.
"We feel as though it's going to stay within the perimeter of the fire, so there's not a threat to the homes," Cook said.
Several hundred residents in some 200 homes in Christopher Creek never had to be evacuated. The fire burned within a mile of the community.
Fire managers on Sunday began sending home some of the nearly 700 firefighters who had been battling the blaze. Cook did not know how many were sent home.
Remaining crews were working Sunday to put out any hot spots on the interior of the fire.
The blaze began May 13 and was human-caused. It was burning in the Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves national forests.