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Interactive: Heat wave

Video: Arizona firefighters prepare for battle

  1. Closed captioning of: Arizona firefighters prepare for battle

    >>> now to arizona and the huge wildfire, up to a stunning 640 square miles now with more than 50 structures destroyed, including 29 homes. fighter crews have been attacking the blaze with all they've got, but the weather forecast for this weekend is not encouraging. nbc's george lewis is in springerville, arizona .

    >> reporter: lester, the firefighters are awfully worried about the forecast, calling about a return of high winds that fanned the flames and caused so much devastation. tonight, they're trying to get ready. by night, it's a monster inferno, lighting up the arizona and new mexico sky. by day, a dull gray path of destruxz in its wake. 22 houses have burned in greer, arizona .

    >> this is haad to watch.

    >> reporter: harder to watch if you see your destroyed home on tv.

    >> ours was the first that we saw on tv.

    >> reporter: at a meeting, connie tried to count her blessings.

    >> we're just thankful that our lives were left. our prayers are for the firefighters.

    >> those firefighter s face a difficult weekend ahead. if the winds pick up as expected, it could drive tflames into communities that have survived so far. they have been busy setting backfires and building barriers to protect the houses in the mountain villages. they have been lucky today, but they know tomorrow is going to be a struggle. and as the fire grows, it's not just affecting people. these elek are on the run from the smoke. and then there are domesticated animals like this dog that was found wandering in the smoke zone and was rescued by the arizona humane society .

    >> she is a stray. for now, she seems to be doing okay. we'll see how she does.

    >> reporter: there's a psychological toll for those who had to flee. this deputy's ancestors founded the town of eager, arizona .

    >> it hurts me to see all these people i know and all these people i love displaszed from their homeser put under hardship. i can feel their anxiety.

    >> and it's not about to end soon. when it's all over, this is probably going to go down as the largest wildfire in arizona history, and tonight, it's burning into new mexico.

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