Growing AZ Wildfire Prompts New Evacuation Orders

Residents near a town in south-central Arizona are the latest to evacuate as one of two wildfires, fueled by gusty winds and dry weather, grew overnight, authorities said Monday.

SUPERIOR, Ariz. (AP) — Residents near a town in south-central Arizona are the latest to evacuate as one of two wildfires, fueled by gusty winds and dry weather, grew overnight, authorities said Monday.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office issued an immediate evacuation order early for part of Miami. The order specifically applies to those who reside west of the town limits, south of U.S. Highway 60 from Dairy Canyon to Mackey Camp.

Two local schools are open as shelters.

The so-called Telegraph Fire has now expanded to more than 64 square miles (166 square kilometers) and is at zero containment. Officials say a forecast of low humidity and high winds throughout the week will likely facilitate more spread.

Evacuations were ordered Sunday for the Top-of-The-World area and northeast of Superior, roughly 60 miles (97 km) east of Phoenix. The Pinal County sheriff’s office also evacuated the Oak Flats campground.

No deaths or injuries have been reported.

The human-caused blaze has also forced closures of stretches of State Route 177, State Route 77, U.S. 70 and U.S. 60.

More than 200 firefighters have been battling the fire since it broke out Friday. It has so far burned mostly shrub and grass but continues to threaten as many as 150 residents, Tonto National Forest spokesman John Scaggs said Sunday.

The largest type of federal incident management team has assumed control of the operation.

Meanwhile, airtankers and helicopters were assisting more than 500 firefighters who continued to work the Mescal Fire about 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Globe. It has grown to more than 77 square miles (199 square kilometers). It has mostly burned desert brush, oak and grass.

Some neighborhoods in Globe have been evacuated and the community of Coyote Flats.

Estimated containment shrank from 5% Saturday to only 2% by Sunday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Gila District Office.

The cause of that fire, which started May 31, is under investigation.

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