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'Punkin Fire' burning near Tonto Basin measured at 305 acres, 40% contained

Authorities said forward progress of the fire was stopped as of 4:50 p.m. Monday.

TONTO BASIN, Ariz. — An estimated 305-acre fire started near Tonto Basin Monday afternoon. Fifty homes were in danger, according to the Red Cross.

The Department of Forestry and Fire Management said in a tweet Monday structures were threatened and that the Gila County Sheriff's Office was conducting evacuations as the fire is being pushed northwest due to wind.

The fire has been named the "Punkin Fire." It was about 40% contained as of Tuesday morning.

Authorities said forward progress of the fire was stopped as of 4:50 p.m. Monday and fire crews would remain throughout the night to protect homes.

The county's health department says the evacuation zone spans from Old Highway 188 to the transfer station road, approximately between Highway 188 and Tonto Creek.

The fire has closed State Route 188 in both directions west of Punkin Center between E Slate Creek Trl (265) to E Slate Creek Trl (263).  

The Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuees at the Payson Senior Center, 512 W. Main Street, Payson. The shelter was opened at 4 p.m.

Tonto National Forest crews joined to help to put out the fire. 

Arizona state forestry officials said the fire started by an escaped pile burn on private land.

This a developing story. Stay tuned to 12 News for the latest.


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