Arizona crews battle wildfires

TUCSON, Ariz. - Crews in Arizona worked Saturday to protect several small communities from two large wildfires by clearing brush near homes and planning to set fires aimed at robbing the blazes of forest fuels.

The Wallow Fire near the White Mountain community of Alpine grew to 218 square miles by Saturday morning. The fire is the third largest in state history, and fire officials said they had zero containment of the fire near the New Mexico-Arizona state line, which has forced an unknown number of people to evacuate.

Meanwhile, crews were trying to protect a church camp and two communities from the Horseshoe Two fire that had burned 140 square miles in far southern Arizona.

The 90,000-acre blaze had come within a mile of the evacuated Methodist church camp in the steep Pine Canyon near the community of Paradise on Friday night.

- AP

Huntsman says he will skip Iowa

NORTH CONWAY, N.H. - Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman sounded like a full-fledged White House candidate Saturday, set to join the field this month, as he mapped out a campaign strategy that bypasses early-voting Iowa to focus on New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.

During a visit to New Hampshire's rural north, Huntsman, just five weeks removed as President Obama's ambassador to China, said the GOP campaign at this point is about personalities, not policy, but that that will change.

Iowa's lead-off caucuses are out for him, Huntsman said, because of his opposition to subsidies for corn-based ethanol - a deal-breaker in that state.

- AP

Youngest balloon pilot takes flight

TOME, N.M. - Nine-year-old Bobby Bradley floated into history Saturday, flying solo in a hot-air balloon and landing perfectly about a half-hour later to become the youngest trained pilot to accomplish such a feat.

Bradley took off shortly before 7 a.m. from a remote field chosen for its lack of power lines and other obstructions, and touched down 26 minutes later on a dirt road. Some among a more than 50 observers doused the boy with nonalcoholic champagne and silly string.

Bradley is a fourth-generation balloonist and has nearly 30 hours of flight time with his father in a standard hot-air balloon. He flew in a specially built, smaller balloon that is classified as an ultralight aircraft.

- AP

Fire takes home of country star

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - Country music star Trace Adkins lost his home to a fire Saturday afternoon.

Fire officials told the Tennessean newspaper that Adkins' home in this Nashville suburb was a total loss. Dispatchers said every Brentwood firefighter was called to fight the blaze.

Adkins was not at home. His wife, Rhonda, and their children got out safely. A call to Adkins' spokeswoman by the Associated Press was not returned.

- AP