Red Flag Conditions Cause Explosive Growth In Arizona Wildfires
Heavy winds and red flag conditions have caused significant growth of the Mangum Fire near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
It’s reached nearly 48,000 acres with 3% containment. Officials say its being pushed northward burning in ponderosa as well as pinyon-juniper and grasslands. Evacuations remain in effect for Jacob Lake along with several pre-evacuation orders. U.S. Highway 89A and State Route 67 are closed along with the North Kaibab Ranger District and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. Smoke is expected to impact the Page and Tuba City areas Wednesday as firefighters face another day of intense fire activity.
In addition, four rural communities northeast of Phoenix have been evacuated as a wildfire has grown to nearly 90,000 acres. Officials gave the “Go” order for the Sunflower and Apache Lake areas yesterday and Punkin Center and Tonto Basin earlier this week. The Bush Fire is burning in the Mazatzal Mountains on the Tonto National Forest and officials report 5% containment. They say it was caused by a vehicle fire. It’s also forced the closure of state routes 87, 88 and 188. Heavy winds and dry, hot conditions have caused the fire’s explosive growth.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management is reporting a concerning spike in wildfires this year. They say so far in 2020 more than 940 fires have burned 170,000 acres of federal, private and tribal lands. Last year at this time, about 690 fires had burned 47,000 acres. Officials say 95% of the fires have been human-caused. State foresters say resources are becoming spread thin as multiple fires are competing for firefighter, equipment and aviation.