"Soldier Basin" wildfire grows to more than 10,000 acres near Nogales

May 22, 2013

A human-caused wildfire continues to spread in the Patagonia Mountains near Nogales. Since Friday, it has consumed more than 10,000 acres of mesquite trees, brush and grass.  Officials say it is 55% contained.

Coronado National Forest spokeswoman Michelle Fidler said aircraft are dropping little containers of flammable liquid to create fire lines that reduce fuel for the blaze. 

“We use a helicopter that drops plastic spheres that look a lot like ping pong balls and a few seconds after the ball lands on the ground, the ball burns itself out and creates a little spot of fire on the land," Fidler said.

Fidler said the fire is burning 5 miles away from the Nogales Airport, but no structures are threatened.  It is moving to the north away from the U.S.-Mexico border.  She said if the weather cooperates, fire crews hope to have the fire contained within four to five days.

A portion of the Sierra Vista Ranger District in the Coronado National Forest at Soldier Basin north to Flux Canyon will be temporarily closed over the holiday weekend as fire crews continue to work the blaze.