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2 northern Arizona wildfires continue to grow, benefit forest

Flames are shown in late July in the Kaibab National Forest in northern Arizona. (Twitter photo/@KaibabNF)

PHOENIX -- Kaibab National Forest officials said two wildfires continued slow, but steady growth Saturday in northern Arizona.

Officials said both fires are being allowed to grow moderately to benefit forest resources and lessen the risk of future high-intensity blazes.

"Our goal is to allow the natural spread of these fires to reduce hazardous fuels, improve wildlife habitat, and meet other natural and cultural resource objectives," said Quentin Johnson, fire management officer for the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab forest.

The McRae Fire grew by 74 acres Saturday to reach a total size of 5,071 acres. It started by lightning on July 4, and officials didn't expect it to grow much Sunday due to "a steady drizzle of rain on the fire last night."

Officials said the Hammer Fire was slightly more active Saturday: It grew by 371 acres to reach a size of 596 acres. Fire managers also expected minor growth on this wildfire Sunday due to precipitation the night before. The Hammer Fire was first found on July 29.

Another fire in the region was dormant Sunday morning due to several days of precipitation, officials said. The Sitgreaves Complex is about 4,150 acres in size on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab forest. Crews are monitoring the fire and some smoke is still visible, but the wildfire is not expected to be active over the next few days. Since smoke can still been seen, fire managers believe the Sitgreaves Complex may see a resurgence once conditions in the area dry out.

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