DUDLEYVILLE, Ariz. - Officials with the Arizona State Forestry say a fire that has burned 1,200 acres in Pinal County was human-caused and an investigator is working to identify the specific ignition source.
According to officials, as of the evening of April 10, the Margo Fire is 50% contained. The town of Dudleyville, which was evacuated on April 8, has been returned to "SET" status, meaning evacuated residents can return home.
Drought-stricken Arizona had one of its worst wildfire seasons in nearly a decade in 2020, according to state Forestry and Fire Management Department officials.
Officials have warned there is a potential for widespread, statewide fire activity by June.
Timeline of the fire:
April 10: Officials said they waited to lift the evacuation notice until Saturday so utility workers could assess power and gas lines.
April 9: about 75 personnel have been assigned to the fire.
April 8: At around 9:00 a.m., Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management officials said the wildfire was burning thick tamarisk in a river bottom.
"I saw a big old cloud of smoke. That was was when I yelled for my son and was like, hey I think my buddy Alonzo’s place is on fire," said Pablo Acuna.
Acuna headed to his friend's place and saw the fire was about 150 feet away.
"I can hear it crackling," said Acuna. "You can see the trees falling, you can see the flames, you can feel the heat. It was pretty intense."
Acuwent back home, gathered his family and some of his belongings, and headed to Hayden to stay with his aunt.
"When we left, I want to say 200 yards away from our house, so that’s what concerns me and I haven’t heard nothing after that," said Acuna.
Cheryl Chester was in Mesa when she got word about the fire burning through her community.
"I had my husband come out here to check and see what was going on, and found that the fire was close to our house," said Chester."We heard that a lot of people lost their homes, so he said that one of those planes dumped a big bucket of water right behind our barn and stopped the fire from getting to our house.
Dudleyville is a census-designated place with a population of about 1,000 located off Highway 77 about 60 miles north of Tucson.
The mining town was the site of a July 2017 wildfire that charred almost 1,200 acres and destroyed several structures, including homes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Margo Fire burning in Dudleyville in Pinal County (Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management)
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