A pair of fast-moving wildfires continued to grow on Monday in Arizona, burning more than 100,000 acres, prompting evacuations in some areas and forcing the closures of four state highways.
Residents in Superior watched warily as the Telegraph Fire ballooned to over 56,000 acres, surrounding the mining town to the east, south and west as battle crews worked to contain the fire’s encroachment along U.S. 60 and homes south of the highway. It’s expected to keep growing this week as dry conditions and high winds fuel the flames.
The smoke from the fire was visible around the town east of Phoenix. The flames and fire engulfed one of the area’s landmarks, Picketpost Mountain, south of Superior.
“If you can see it from miles away, you can only imagine how big the flames were in person,” said Camran Ramos, a Superior resident who told the Arizona Republic of the USA TODAY Network that she and her family are beginning to prepare to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
They’ll take “the important things: papers, medicines. Everything else, if it goes, it goes,” she said.
The Telegraph Fire remained at zero containment on Monday afternoon.
To the east, on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation near Globe, the Mescal Fire had consumed more than 52,800 acres, growing by 14,000 acres since Sunday, according to fire officials and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The fire was 8% contained, according to InciWeb, a wildfire tracking website operated by the U.S. Forest Service.
The Mescal Fire, which began on June 1, is being fueled by grass and brush as well as drought conditions, fire officials said. The cause remains under investigation.
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Though the cause of the Telegraph Fire is also under investigation, it was most likely started by people, according to InciWeb, a wildfire tracking website operated by the U.S. Forest Service.
The dual wildfires has forced the Arizona Department of Transportation to close stretches of U.S. 60 – one of the state’s primary major east-west highways – as well as state routes 60, 70 and 170.