Multiple wildfires burn 163,000 acres in Arizona; made some progress

Three forest fires this week consumed more than 163,000 acres, but firefighters and local residents could see progress on Thursday.

Telegraph fire

The Telegraph Fire near Superior began on June 4 and grew rapidly to 85,901 acres on Thursday, according to fire officials.

It’s the largest and most devastating of the three current fires, and firefighters increased containment to 40% on Thursday.

The wildfire became one of the most devastating forest fires in Arizona’s recent history, with more than 900 workers fighting the fire and destroying at least 20 buildings.

Although the cause of the fire is still being investigated, it was most likely human caused, according to the fire information site.

While some parishes returned home after evacuation orders were lifted, “GO” orders continued to be issued for parishes along US-60.

These included Top-of-the-World, the Miami area west of the city limits, Miami south of Highway 60 from Dairy Canyon to Mackey’s Camp, Oak Flat Campground, and Oaks Mobile Home and RV Park.

Mescal fire

Nearby, the mescal fire southeast of Globe burned more than 72,250 acres and firefighters hit 36% containment Thursday, firefighters said.

The wildfire began on June 1st and was fueled by parched land, hot temperatures and gusts of wind. It started in the Mescal Mountains, about 7 miles northeast of Dripping Springs and 12 miles southeast of Globe.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Most residents were able to return home by Thursday, including residents of Beverly Hills, the T11 Ranch and El Capitan on the east side of State Route 77. No buildings were reported damaged.

US 70 and SR 77 reopened to traffic. There were still closures in force for US 60 between Superior and Miami and for State Route 177 from Superior to Winkleman.

Slate fire

The Slate Fire, located 23 miles northwest of Flagstaff along US 180, burned 4,900 acres of land Thursday. The fire that broke out on Monday has not yet been contained.

The fire began on Slate Mountain and was reported by a Coconino County sheriff’s deputy early Monday, according to InciWeb.

Containment efforts were still at 0% Thursday afternoon as crews worked to manage the spread east and west of US 180.

About 130 firefighters are on duty.

No injuries or structural damage were reported by Thursday afternoon.

US 180 remained closed from Cedar Ranch to Kendrick Park as of Thursday afternoon, according to Coconino National Forest spokesman Randi Shaffer and a tweet from Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon visitors should use State Route 64 from Williams to access Grand Canyon Road or US 89 in Flagstaff.

The Arizona Trail in the northern half of Passage 34, San Francisco Peaks between Kelly Tank and Cedar Ranch, remained closed Thursday, according to Inciweb. The trail was closed on Tuesday, according to a tweet from the Arizona Trail.

Reach current reporter Monica D. Spencer at [email protected] or on Twitter @monicadspencer.

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