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Growing Arizona Wildfire Prompts New Evacuation Orders

Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management

Two wildfires fueled by dry weather have been growing in south-central Arizona, forcing evacuations.

The so-called Telegraph Fire has now expanded to more than 95.6 square miles (247.7 square kilometers) and is at zero containment, authorities said late Monday. Officials had said a forecast of low humidity and high winds throughout the week will likely facilitate more spread.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office has issued an immediate evacuation order 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 schools are open as shelters.

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 working the Mescal Fire about 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Globe. It has grown to more than 82.6 square miles (214 square kilometers), reported KNXV-TV late Monday. It has mostly burned desert brush, oak and grass.

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

Estimated containment was 8%, reported KNXV-TV late Monday. It had falled 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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