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Willow Fire Burns Thousands of Acres, Forces Evacuations

Willow Fire
Mohave County Emergency Management/Facebook
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The Willow Fire in Arizona has burned through thousands of acres, forced evacuations and triggered a air quality warning for Las Vegas.

A wind-driven wildfire in northwest Arizona grew so large that it has prompted air quality warnings in Las Vegas.

At its peak, the Willow Fire in the Mojave Valley had grown to more than 10-square-miles and forced some 1,000 homes to be evacuated.

Those evacuation orders were lifted by Tuesday morning. 

The blaze damaged and destroyed a number of structures, including 18 homes.

The fire started Saturday about 30 miles from Bullhead City, Arizona, which is across the river from Laughlin. 

According to Dolores Garcia, the spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Garcia told KNPR's State of Nevada that as firefighters work to contain the fire the heat is taking its toll. 

"It has been very hot these last few days and that's been the biggest challenge for them right now is working out there in the hot conditions and staying hydrated has been the key issue," she said.

So far, no firefighters have been hurt in the effort. 

It is not just the heat that is a concern, the gusty winds are also worrying crews. 

"That is always going to be a concern for us," Garcia said. "Salt cedar and these river bottom fuels are very receptive and respond very quickly to changes to humidity and wind."

Garcia said the wind is why the fire is only 40 percent contained because fire crews are going back over fire lines to mop any hot spots so the lines can stand up to gusty winds expected from summer storms. 

Dolores Garcia, spokesperson, Bureau of Land Management

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