Ariz. wildfire to keep growing amid strong winds

By the Associated Press | May 17, 2012 | 11:25 AM EDT

Smoke rising from the Gladiator Fire is seen from Spring Valley, Ariz., Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Officials working to keep the wildfire away from the historic Arizona mining town of Crown King, a community of mostly summer homes about 85 miles north of Phoenix, are telling any residents still in their homes to leave now. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle)

CROWN KING, Ariz. (AP) — Strong wind gusts will likely keep spreading a wildfire that has grown to nearly 10 square miles and prompted the evacuation of a historic Arizona mining town.

Fire incident spokeswoman Michelle Fidler says gusts of up to 40 mph are expected Thursday in the Prescott National Forest, near Crown King.

She says the wind could push the fire, which is only 5 percent contained, northward but crews will use the opportunity to slow the blaze from the west, where communication towers are threatened.

The fire has destroyed two homes and a trailer, and prompted an evacuation order Sunday. Crown King is a community of mostly summer homes about 85 miles north of Phoenix.

The blaze started at a home, but investigators have yet to determine the cause.