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Crews have the Sunflower Fire 30 percent contained the fire on the south east side, near Hwy 87.

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Wildfire trapped

Long, costly struggle remains

Over the weekend, fire crews gained a big advantage on the rugged 16,115-acre Sunflower Fire. Hundreds of firefighters from around the country are still battling the blaze that as of Tuesday morning was at 25-square-miles and 43 percent containment. Officials say Hotshot crews are reinforcing fire lines and no structures, power lines nor the highway corridor is at risk. Fire officials have set a July 30 containment date, but cautioned that the blaze could hang on for some time as interior fuels continue to burn. That means smoke will also linger over Payson.

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