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Telegraph Fire Becomes Sixth Largest In Recorded Arizona History

Tonto National Forest

The massive Telegraph Fire east of Phoenix has grown to more than 170,000 acres. Crews, however, have made steady progress in recent days and report more than 70% containment. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Several small communities remain under evacuation as firefighters focus on protecting homes on the blaze’s southeastern edge. More than 40 structures have been destroyed since the wildfire was first reported nearly two weeks ago. The Telegraph Fire is now the sixth largest wildfire in Arizona history behind last year’s Bush Fire northeast of Mesa.

Earlier this week the human-caused Telegraph Fire merged with the mostly contained Mescal Fire that started June 1.

Elsewhere, crews have now contained more than half of the Slate Fire about 20 miles north of Flagstaff and have nearly fully contained a wildfire near Cornville that prompted evacuations earlier in the week.

Firefighters are currently battling at least eight active wildfires in Arizona.

Nearly all national forests and public lands in the state have implemented total bans on campfires and most other open flames as the region faces triple-digit temperatures and extreme drought.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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