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Cost Grows Along With Acreage In Arizona's Sawmill Fire

By Stina Sieg
Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 1:02pm
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(Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management)
(Photo courtesy of inciweb.nwcg.gov)
Firefighters conduct burnout operations along Empire Ranch Road on April 26, 2017.

The Sawmill Fire is still growing in Southern Arizona — and so is its price tag.

So far, the blaze has burned through more than 70 square miles and $3 million. That’s a cost estimate through Thursday.

The number of personnel assigned to the fire is also continuing to rise, now up to approximately 800. The wildfire started Sunday, southeast of Green Valley. A spokesman for the interagency team fighting the fire said it’s now around 10 miles from hundreds of homes in rural areas along Interstate 10 and west of Benson. People there are under pre-evacuation notices.

From the beginning, authorities have said the Sawmill Fire was likely human-caused. They now say an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent is being investigated for possibly starting the fire while shooting recreationally.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.