67,000 acres in two fires near Globe aflame | Disaster A forest on fire

Two fires near Globe exploded over the weekend, cutting off routes to Rim Country and the White Mountains and forcing evacuations.

The Telegraph Fire exploded up to 41,000 acres, resulting in an evacuation order for the Top-of-The-World campground and Oak Flat campground, leaving Superior as well as Miami, Claypool, parts of Central Heights and the Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center in Evacuation Alert, and closing State Route 60 between Globe and Miami and State Route 177 south of Superior.

The Red Cross has set up evacuation centers in Miami, Globe and Apache Junction. The fire broke out on Friday for an unspecified “human cause” and, despite the best efforts of 199 firefighters, showed an “extreme” fire behavior for the Sunday update.

Meanwhile, the Mescal Fire spread 12 miles southeast of Globe to 26,000 acres as of Sunday evening, with 672 firefighters battling the flames as it advanced from 40 mph winds onto the community of Coyote Flats. The fire contributed to the closure of Highway 177 between Winkelman and Globe.

The update for the fire on Sunday reported, “The Mescal Fire experienced extreme fire activity on Saturday. The fire crossed 600 Road (Old Coolidge Dam Road) and pushed towards Route 3 over Hog Mountain. Firefighters successfully built a fire line and burned along roads 600 and 740 Friday night to protect the Soda Canyon community. On Saturday, they worked to prevent the fire from spreading to the San Carlos High School area. Air tankers and helicopters are used extensively to support firefighters on the ground when needed. The crews are still protecting the power line. “

Years of accumulation of fuels in combination with the drought have created “extreme” fire behavior – with wind-driven embers that are thrown far in front of the fire lines. The fire is only 8% contained and, according to the update, will likely by 30. The hot, dry spring and lack of rain this winter have left the fuels bone dry – and the worst fire conditions a month earlier than normal.

Almost the entire state is now in the grip of an exceptional or severe drought, with only a 50/50 chance of a normal monsoon standing somewhere in July between forest and disaster. Almost all of Apache and Navajo Counties are experiencing “exceptional” drought, while Gila County is experiencing “extreme” drought.

Even if the monsoon delivers almost normal rainfall this year, according to forecasters we will unfortunately still have to struggle with above-average temperatures.

Phoenix has already passed the 105 mark, Payson jumped into the 90s and Show Low hit the top 80s – all temperatures well above normal.

This means the state could also flirt with the horrifying record for heat-related deaths last year. The record summer heat last year killed at least 494 people, including 300 in Maricopa County. By comparison, the heat in 2010 killed 282 people – which itself was much more than in most of the previous years. In the past five years, the Arizona heat has killed an estimated 1,500 people.

The heat proved fatal to the homeless, people without air conditioning or money to pay their electricity bills, and people living in RVs – especially the elderly.

In 2020, Phoenix set all sorts of painful heat records – with 145 days over 100 degrees and 53 days over 110. So get ready for another summer to deal with heat refugees from the valley – annoyed that they have no campfires in the Forest can have.

Scientists called the surge in heat-related deaths in Arizona last year “staggering.”

The rise in average temperatures associated with heat-storing pollutants in the atmosphere accounted for an estimated 37% of heat-related deaths between 1991 and 2018, according to a massive trend study in 43 countries by researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Bern in the journal Nature Climate Change published.

The increase in deaths has been found to be most extreme in Asia and South America due to the effects of moisture and the lack of air conditioning and other infrastructure that can limit the effects of the heat. The study’s authors didn’t have enough data from Africa or India to include these regions in the analysis, which likely means the increase in heat-related deaths is much higher.

All of Arizona received a down payment last week for another dangerously warm summer.

Temperatures in Phoenix were above 108 late last week – although the forecast for that week was closer to 104.

The Payson high hit 93 on Thursday and stayed in the upper 80s over the weekend. The forecast calls for temperatures to rise again into the 1990s this week.

On Show Low, weekend temperatures peaked at around 87. The forecast is for a decline earlier in the week, with a further increase to around 88 later in the week.

There is no rain in the forecast for the next week – which is not surprising in June. Payson usually only gets a drop of rain in June – maybe a quarter of an inch. Show Low gets a little more – but less than half an inch in a normal year.

But the National Weather Service says this is not a normal year.

The recently released Fire Season Outlook for June states that the extraordinary drought has gripped the entire state – perhaps the worst in 1,000 years. Trees, fallen wood and scrub have dried up dangerously – much worse than last year at that time. That’s not good as Arizona forest fires charred nearly 1 million acres in 2020. The entire region faces an “above normal, significant forest fire potential” well into July.

At this point, “the expanded view favors above-average temperatures with generally equal opportunities for above, near, or below average rainfall for the monsoons across Arizona,” the weather service concluded.

That sounds pretty non-binding, but there is at least some hope that the fire season will end at some point – in contrast to the “nonsoon” last year, which led to large fires well into the fall.

“With the same chances of above, near or below average precipitation by July, the considerable forest fire potential should have normalized by then,” concluded the June outlook.

Usually July is considered the wettest month of the year in Payson. On average, it rains 18 days a month – a total of 3.2 inches. High temperatures average around 88 degrees, with an average humidity of 43%.

On Show Low, July typically brings 15 days of rain – about 1.7 inches total. The high temperatures usually average 85 degrees.

The heat of April and May guaranteed that the region would go into the worst month of fire in disrepair. The fire brigade has been on duty for weeks to prevent the fires from getting out of hand in the dry, hot environment.

By the end of last week, they had managed most of it, despite a fire that ravaged around 18 houses in Baghdad. However, the fire season is also beginning to flare up in New Mexico, Colorado, California, and Idaho – all of which will test fire-fighting resources nationwide in the coming weeks.

New Mexico has been particularly hard hit along the Arizona border as the 38,000-acre Johnson Fire, 500-acre Drummond Fire, and 13,000-acre Doagy Fire are now actively burning.

Active fires in Arizona listed on Inciweb late last week included:

• 49,000 acre mescal fire near Globe, now 8% contained.

• 41,000 acre telegraph fire near Superior, 0% contained.

• 3,000 acres of Bobby Creek Fire near Hannigan Meadows, now 70% contained.

• 3,500 acre McDonald Camp Fire near White River, now 66% contained.

• 1,688 acre Bonito Camp Fire near Heber now 40% contained.

• 1,400 acres of Warren Fire near Douglas now 50% contained.

• 75 acre Harshaw Fire near Nogales.

• 1,000 acre Warsaw Fire near Tucson, now 100% contained.

• 2,000 hectare G22 fire at Heber now 70% contained.

• 68% of the 2,900 acre Copper Canyon Fire near Globe now contained.

• 500 acre Sam Fire near Globe, with 80% containment.

• Margo Fire near Dudley, 1,148 acres, with 100% containment.

• 5,500 acre Tussock Fire near Crown King, now 100% contained.

• 1,300 acre flag fire near Kingman, now 88% contained.

• 25 acre slate fire near the highway. 180, no containment at press time.

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