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San Rafael Fire burns 10,000+ acres in southern Arizona

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Posted at 10:13 AM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 12:19:32-04

Crews are battling the San Rafael Fire in southern Arizona.

Arizona Forestry Officials say the flames sparked Saturday, about 22 miles southeast of Patagonia, and is burning within the San Rafael State Natural Area.

So far, the fire has burned 10,000 acres and is actively burning with a heavy grass crop. Officials say wind is fanning the flames and making efforts difficult for fire crews.

Two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) along with an Air Attack platform have been ordered, but due to another round of Red Flag Warning conditions Sunday, high winds may make it difficult for aircraft to assist.

As of Sunday morning, evacuations were ordered for homes southeast of Patagonia.

Crews are conducting firing operations as part of structure protection.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday that wildfire season kicked off early this season.

Dry and windy conditions contributed to an active start to the wildfire season in April, NOAA said.

"Across all 50 states, 1.1 million acres have burned since January 1— 160% of average for this time of year."

This story was first reported by Hector Gonzales at KNXV in Phoenix.