SHOW LOW, Ariz. (AP) -- Firefighters are ready to shift some of their emphasis in battling a monster wildfire now that this mountain community seems closer to safety.
Crews who were helping secure Show Low expected to move to other fronts Friday on the opposite side of the 417,000-acre blaze, where the fire had slipped into rugged canyon terrain south of a small community. There was a chance of rain in the area Friday, but an even higher chance of dry thunderstorms with lightning and no precipitation, forecasters said.
At Show Low, though, the wildfire "is really shut down," said fire spokesman Jim Paxon.
The fire, which has destroyed at least 423 homes, was 10 percent contained Friday, and lines were secured along 26 miles of the fire's perimeter. Officials estimate they will need about 350 miles of fire line to fully encircle the blaze.
"On this fire we're going to hold on to anything we can get," said Capt. John Carothers, a firefighter with a California-based crew.
Paxon said officials are moving rapidly toward allowing some of the 30,000 people who have been evacuated back into Show Low and some neighboring communities.
The news wasn't as good on the other side of the fire, where flames began spreading into rugged terrain below the community of Forest Lakes, about 40 miles west of Show Low.
Firefighters used bulldozers to carve a line and planes dropped slurry to keep the flames from spreading toward the community, which has at least 600 homes. It remained about 3 1/2 miles from Forest Lakes.
"You need to keep your fingers crossed that we're going to pull this off," Kim Martin, the incident commander overseeing the western edge, told residents at an evacuation shelter in Payson. "All bets are off right now. We've got a lot of country, a lot of timber, a lot of fuel and a lot of heat."
The people of Show Low, population 7,700, Pinetop-Lakeside and Hon-Dah will be the first to return home, possibly in just a few days.
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