Fire crews battling the so-called Schultz fire northeast of Flagstaff, Ariz. have made some progress, bringing 10 percent of the 10,000-acre wildfire under control. Still, hundreds of residents have been ordered to evacuate.
On Tuesday, fire crews were focusing on protecting houses in the fire's path. Flames had reached the backyards of some homes while coming with a few hundred feet of others.
The 10,000 acre wildfire -- whipped by winds of up to 30 miles an hour -- had proved stubbornly tough to battle as it leapt from spot to spot.
"When you are getting more spot fires than what your crew and what the people that you have working on the fire can pick up, then you know you are in a really bad situation," said Joe Luttman of the U.S. Forest Service.
It's dangerous work for the more than 800 firefighters confronting the flames. Two firefighters have been injured.
"So the fire behavior is really erratic," said Eric Neitzel of the Show Low Fire Department. "That's kind of a watch-out situation for all our firefighters to just be on our toes and be careful out there."
More than 1,000 residents in the region have been evacuated. Some say they saw stunning sights as they fled for local shelters.
But resident Cindy Beckham refused to go and fought the flames as they raced up to her backyard.
"Well, like I said, the trees right behind my house were on fire last night, and I was still standing there with a shovel and a hose," Beckham said.
No matter the danger, there's only one condition under which she says it will be time for her to leave.
"When the fire crews leave, I'm leaving," she added.
Some residents have been allowed to return to their homes. However, a key road to Grand Canyon National Park remains closed near the fire scene.