Goodwin Fire Near Mayer Burns More Than 4000 Acres

A tanker flies toward the Goodwin Fire south of Prescott to drop fire retardant

Authorities expect to allow more evacuated residents to go home and to reopen a major route through an Arizona community that barely escaped destruction when a huge wildfire swept into town.

The Goodwin Fire is still too risky for fire officials to make a good assessment of the conditions or to even find out how many structures have been destroyed.

On the bright side, State Route 69 is re-opened, and the citizens of the town of Mayer have been reunited with their homes.

Crews secured lines around about 43 percent of the blaze.

No homes were destroyed, and most evacuations were canceled after a few hours.

The camps weren't directly threatened, but Yavapai County Supervisor Tom Thurman said officials didn't want to take risks.

"Since fire danger in Kentucky is now low, we are happy to be able to provide some help", said James Wright, director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

The fire forced the evacuation of Mayer and Dewey-Humboldt along with several other communities, and one of the main roads into Prescott was closed.

"When that fire jumped that road and started heading to Dewey-Humboldt, we thought it was gone", Sheriff Scott Mascher said. "The reason I say that is because I think we have a much better chance of success".

But authorities estimated that the fire only burned a handful of homes.

"This fire is far from done", declared Jeff Whitney, state forester and fire marshal who is director of the state Department of Fire Management.

"My office continues to coordinate with state agencies and local emergency response officials with a focus on saving lives, protecting property and making sure evacuees have the shelter and support necessary", said Governor Ducey.

One woman anxious about a 27-year-old donkey she left behind, asking how it would survive without care.

Longo said a number of neighbors with animals were staying behind.

Most, though, just wanted to know when they could go home.

The latest report on acreage burned came from Arizona forest officials on Tuesday morning.

Whenever a drone is in the area, all air operations must be grounded, thus delaying firefighting.

Firefighters gained ground against a fierce, five-day-old wildfire in central Arizona on Thursday, enabling authorities to lift evacuation orders for the largest town that had been threatened, but 2,000 people remain displaced in neighboring communities.

"We left everything else", Eastlack said. "I just get the important stuff".

He praised "the elite status of those young men that we lost".

Firefighters are working around the clock battling not only the flames but also brutal heat waves and gusting winds.

Elsewhere, hundreds of people forced from their homes by a southern Utah wildfire are expected to be allowed back to a ski town even as the blaze grows. The fire was ignited by someone using a weed-burning torch. Officials there say higher humidity levels slowed the fire's pace.

Galvan reported from Phoenix.

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