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More homes evacuated as Dean Peak Fire expands

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Changing wind forced the evacuation of about 200 more homes in hill country as a wildfire burned in mountains outside Kingman, authorities said Wednesday.

About 150 homes in other areas were evacuated earlier this week.

The Dean Peak Fire has burned about 4,400 acres since it started Saturday by lightning in the Hualapai Mountains, about 10 miles southeast of Kingman. The fire is at zero percent containment and has shrouded communities with smoke.

"This is not a typical desert fire and should be visible for some time," said Matthew Reidy, the incident commander coordinating firefighting efforts.

The evacuations of the Pinion Pines subdivision late Tuesday night was ordered by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office and the Pine Lake Fire Department after changing weather shifted the direction of the wind.

The fire was growing on all edges, fire management team spokeswoman Connie Birkland said.

Firefighters cleared vegetation and prepared fire-break lines around the subdivision, Birkland said. "We're feeling pretty good about it," she said.

There was no word of any structures being burned, she said.

Electric power to the evacuated area was turned off so downed lines wouldn't endanger firefighters, who were pulled back from the immediate vicinity, Birkland said.

Birkland said 215 firefighters and support personnel were assigned to the fire. Aircraft, including a DC-10 jet tanker, have dropped retardant to try to slow the blaze.

The Red Cross reopened a shelter at Kingman High School after the latest evacuations. One person sought refuge.

Deputies established roadblocks, allowing only residents of non-evacuated areas to pass.

Fire officials said the area is extremely dry.

"Everything is available to burn," Reidy said. "This is the new normal: severe burning conditions and sustained hot, dry periods."

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