KEARNY - Residents were allowed to return Tuesday to about 100 of the 200 homes evacuated in this small Southern Arizona town after a destructive wildfire burning in a dry riverbed was 5 percent contained.
The Shipman Fire, about 80 miles north of Tucson, had earlier threatened the home of state Sen. Barbara McGuire, who chose to fight the blaze with a garden hose. "It was literally just across the way outside my house," McGuire said. "At about 3:30 in the morning, it just became huge. I was terrified. The embers were floating across this wash right in front of my house."
The smoke was so thick, McGuire said, she had to put a wet rag over her mouth to breathe. She and her husband packed a car with some belongings and their dog and were prepared to flee.
The fire has charred an estimated 300 acres of dense vegetation in a riverbed and burned at least one house.
Officials said the fire was started by lightning just after 5 p.m. Monday.
At least 100 firefighters were battling the blaze, and officials said Tuesday that they expected that number to at least double.