updated 7/2/2005 4:48:35 PM ET 2005-07-02T20:48:35

Using fire to fight fire, crews said Saturday they had managed to protect a community that was in the path of the mammoth wildfire spreading through dry brush and grass in rugged central Arizona.

Thanks to successful burnout operations along the southwest flank of the Cave Creek Complex fire, any danger that the fire would reach Black Canyon City had been significantly diminished, fire officials said.

“Black Canyon City is very happy,” said David Elkowitz, a spokesman for crews working the southern zone of the fire that had covered 214,300 acres. “The burnout yesterday was successful and it’s looking a lot better.”

The community of 4,500 is about 40 miles north of Phoenix on Interstate 17.

The fire was 45 percent contained. Crews had worked during the night to burn out vegetation along the western edge and were conducting more burnout operations Saturday farther south, Elkowitz said.

No evacuations ordered
No communities were imminently threatened by the fire and no evacuation advisories had been issued, he said.

Slideshow: On the line

Southwesterly wind also helped to manage the fire and pushed smoke away from I-17, the main north-south route through central Arizona. The highway remained open and officials said that as long as the weather continued to cooperate, no closures would be necessary.

Nearly 1,700 people were fighting the fire.

The Cave Creek Complex fire began as two lightning-sparked fires on June 21 near Cave Creek and within days had forced the evacuations of some 250 homes northeast of Phoenix. Eleven homes and three storage sheds were destroyed in that area.

Blaze spreads across Nevada
Elsewhere, a blaze in eastern Nevada, near the Utah state line, was scattered across an area of nearly 353,000 acres, although only about half of that land had burned, fire officials said.

Officials said that fire was about 49 percent contained Saturday. About 15 firefighters were assigned to protect the dozen homes of Motoqua, Utah, about 1½ miles from the flames.

Nevada authorities reported full containment of the Meadow Valley Fire, which had covered 145,000 acres and had at one point been within a few miles of Caliente, a railroad town some 110 miles north of Las Vegas.

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