Here’s the latest on the Mescal, Telegraph, and Slate fires in Arizona

Shale Fire (Flickr Photo / Coconino National Forest, Arizona)

PHOENIX – Three ongoing forest fires have consumed more than 150,000 acres, resulting in evacuations and road closures in central and northern Arizona.

On Wednesday, Governor Doug Ducey declared the emergency to release funds to fight the Telegraph and the nearby mescal fires that are consuming the desert scrub east of the Phoenix area.

Here’s the latest on the status and effects of these flames, as well as the slate fire north of Flagstaff:

Mescal fire

The mescal fire began on June 1 about 12 miles southeast of Globe in Gila County. The cause is still being investigated.

By Thursday morning, it had consumed 72,250 acres and was 36% contained, authorities said, with 542 employees assigned. It was at 70,066 acres on Wednesday morning with a 33% containment.

The spread has slowed as the fire reached most of the containment lines, according to the latest incident report.

Residents of El Capitan, east of State Route 77, Beverly Hills, and the T-11 Ranch have been cleared for return home, meaning no appropriate evacuation orders are in place.

State Route 177 between Winkelman and Superior reopened Thursday morning, leaving US 60 between Superior and Miami as the only remaining lockdown related to the Mescal and Telegraph fires.

Telegraph fire

The Telegraph Fire has been burning in an area south and east of Superior over the Pinal and Gila County lines since June 4, making it the ninth largest conflagration in the state’s history. The exact origin of the fire is unknown, but it is being investigated as a man-made incident.

By Thursday morning, it had consumed 85,335 acres and burned five buildings and was 40% contained, authorities said, with 923 employees assigned. In the previous report, released Wednesday evening, the size was 84,860 acres with a 34% containment.

Top-of-the-world residents remain under evacuation orders.

Slate fire

The shale fire was discovered on June 7 about 20 miles northwest of Flagstaff, west of US 180. The cause is still being investigated.

By Thursday morning, it had used around 5,000 acres without containment, authorities said, and 130 people were assigned. In the previous report, released Wednesday morning, the size was 2,000 acres.

US 180 is closed from Cedar Ranch to Kendrick Park, so travelers driving from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon must take State Route 64 north from Williams.

No structures have been lost. The crews have focused their conservation efforts on the Cedar Ranch and the archaeological sites in the area.

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