Authorities expect to allow more evacuated residents to go home and to reopen a major route through an Arizona community that barely escaped destruction when a huge wildfire swept into town.

State Route 69 though Mayer should re-open Friday. But thousands of evacuees will not be able to go home for days as the fire continues to burn in brush and forest about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Phoenix.

The incident commander for the fire that has consumed about 45 square miles (116.55 sq. kilometers) got a big cheer Thursday evening when he announced at a community meeting that crews had secured lines around about 43 percent of the blaze.

Still, John Pierson warned several hundred people that the fire could cause more damage.

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