PRESCOTT — A wind-whipped wildfire in northern Arizona grew quickly to 500 acres and forced the mandatory evacuation of at least 10 homes west of Prescott, authorities said.

The so-called Doce fire was burning away from populated areas and there was no immediate threat to any structures, Yavapai County officials said.

The wildfire began before noon today near the Doce Pit about eight miles northwest of Prescott, according to county sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn.

Wind gusts of up to 22 mph pushed the fire from 20 acres to about 200 within an hour.

How the fire began wasn’t immediately clear, authorities said. The region was under a red flag warning Tuesday because of high winds and low humidity.

Some homes in the Granite Basin Recreation Area were evacuated and 150 others were on stand-by status in that area and two subdivisions, D’Evelyn said.

He said 15 hikers in the area also were evacuated as heavy white smoke filled the air and could be seen by people as far away as Flagstaff.

All evacuees were being asked to go to Yavapai College.

U.S. Forest Service officials said one air tanker, five engines and two crews were battling the fire with more tankers, engines and crews on the way.

Senior Editor, News, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Az.