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News Wrap: Ariz. Firefighters Ramp Up Battle Against Wallow Fire

June 10, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
In other news Friday, firefighters in eastern Arizona hurried to make the most of improved conditions in their battle against the Wallow wildfire. Also, health officials announced that bean sprouts from a German organic farm were the source of the E. coli outbreak that has killed at least 31 people and sickened nearly 3,100.
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KWAME HOLMAN: Wall Street had a Friday to forget, amid worries about the economic recovery. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 172 points to close below 12,000 for the first time since March. The Nasdaq fell 41 points to close at 2,643. For the week, the Dow lost more than 1.5 percent; the Nasdaq fell 3 percent.

Firefighters in eastern Arizona hurried today to make the most of improved conditions in their battle against a mammoth wildfire. Weary fire crews finally were able to gain ground on the so-called Wallow fire as winds died down.

Until yesterday, up to 60 mile-an-hour gusts had pushed the blaze across 640 square miles in less than two weeks. But fire officials were warned winds could pick again and spread the flames into New Mexico.

JIM WHITTINGTON, Southwest Area Fire Management: We are not complacent at all because we recognize that Saturday and Sunday, and into Monday, we could have those red-flag conditions again. And, again, we have just got to be really on our game today.

KWAME HOLMAN: Helicopters and tanker planes continued to drop fire retardant, while, on the ground, some 3,000 firefighters were at work to stanch the flames or burn brush to rob the big blaze of its fuel.

The fire remained active near the town of Greer, after destroying 22 homes there. And residents continued to flee from other threatened areas.

WOMAN: Well, you should see what we already took out. We took out a ton of memories, I guess.

KWAME HOLMAN: Thus far, nearly 10,000 people have been forced from their homes by the fire.

The hunt for the source of the E. coli outbreak in Germany finally is over. Health officials announced today that tainted bean sprouts from a German organic farm were the source. To date, the outbreak has killed at least 31 people and sickened nearly 3,100.

An estimated 100,000 protesters demonstrated in Yemen’s capital today. It was the largest rally since President Ali Abdullah Saleh left for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia last weekend. Opposition tribesmen marched through Sanaa’s main square, carrying the bodies of 41 of their fighters allegedly killed by government forces. Elsewhere, Saleh’s supporters held their own rally outside the presidential palace.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has begun a visit to neighboring Pakistan. He was welcomed today at an air base in Rawalpindi. Karzai wants Pakistani leaders to encourage Taliban participation in peace talks. Also today, CIA Director Leon Panetta met in Pakistan with the army and intelligence chiefs. They focused on easing tensions over the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.