Fire near Patagonia could smolder for a month

Blaze near Patagonia could smolder for a month, till rains come
2013-05-25T00:00:00Z 2013-05-25T14:23:57Z Fire near Patagonia could smolder for a monthArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Smoke continued to pour from the interior of the Soldier Basin Fire near Patagonia Friday as a regional firefighting team prepared to turn control of the fire over to local Coronado National Forest crews.

"We're seeing some columns of interior smoke," said Michelle Fidler, spokeswoman for the team that fought the 10,775-acre blaze for eight days.

By Friday night, the fire was deemed 75 percent contained.

Firefighters had created a "blackline" around the perimeter they established by clearing and burning along a network of forest roads in the Patagonia Mountains.

They spent Friday "mopping up" and patrolling that line. Fidler said "adequate resources" will remain on the fire to continue that patrol.

Nearby residents can expect to see smoke and possibly flames until monsoon rains arrive in a month or so, Fidler said.

When rain does arrive, the area should "green up," she said.

The fire burned, mostly, through grass, shrub oak and mesquite.

She said most of the 200-plus crew that fought the fire would be sent home by this morning.

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