Arizona Hard Hit By Wildfires

Fires close highways and recreational areas.

The Bush Fire near Phoenix. the Big Horn Fire north of Tucson, and the Mangum Fire in the Kaibab National Forest have resulted in the evacuation of over 2,000 people as well as road and recreation area closures.

The Big Horn Fire was sparked by lightning June 5 in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. A fire in the Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona was also caused by lightning. The Bush Fire began June 13 by a vehicle fire.

Hot, dry winds, high temperatures and low humidity have enabled the fires’ growth. Hundreds of firefighters are addressing the blazes, but with little to no containment. “We have hotter temperatures approaching,” said meteorologist Marvin Percha of the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

By early Thursday morning, the Bush Fire had consumed nearly 115,000 acres, and authorities say it is approximately 5 percent contained. It has been fueled mostly by tall grasses and dry brush and other low vegetation. The National Interagency Fire Center and the National Weather Service report this as the seventh largest fire in Arizona history.

Hundreds of residents in nearby communities have been evacuated or placed on alert for potential evacuation. Highways between Phoenix and Payson and around local lakes are restricted. Most lake and canyon recreation areas in the region of the fires are closed.

The Mangum Fire in the Kaibab National Forest has expanded to over 56,000 acres and residents in the area of the fire have been evacuated. Officials say the fire is 3 percent contained. The fire has not burned within the Grand Canyon National Park itself, but smoke is visible from both the North and South rims.

The Bighorn Fire just outside Tucson has consumed over 17,500 acres. Nearby communities and an observatory are being closely watched. Officials on the incident management team report that no structures have been lost so far, but the threat is not over.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For wisdom for the firefighters and their commanders as they make their plans for attacking and containing the wildfires.
  • For residents in the evacuation areas to heed the warnings and be safe.

Sources:  Reuters, Arizona Daily Star, Fox Phoenix


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