A massive wildfire that started in Goodwin, Arizona has overtaken the town and spread drastically in size since it started, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management said.
The blaze, which is burning south of Prescott, has more than tripled in size since it started June 24, and has now burned over 20,000 acres (over 31-square miles).
Because of gusty winds and the type of brush that is in its path, the fire is very fast moving and evacuation orders have been issued for many surrounding towns. That includes Mayer, Chapparal Hills and Poland Junction. Surrounding roadways remain closed as well. It’s unclear exactly how the wildfire started, but over 500 firefighters are on the ground to try to contain it while helicopters continuously drop fire retardant from the sky.
The fire is so large that smoke can be seen on the horizon in downtown Phoenix.
Officials said that as of Tuesday night, only 1 percent of the fire is under control, and community meetings continue to be held to discuss fire suppression tactics and keeping residents safe.
Schools in the are have been transformed into shelter for evacuees, and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said that the fire in Yavapai County is the state’s “top priority.”
Officials at the meeting told the crowd that the fire is very hard to fight because it’s “roaring through trees and brush that have grown untouched for nearly 40 years,” The Arizona Republic reported.
But a plan has been developed to contain the fire, and firefighters have now established a perimeter around Mayer as bulldozers make fire breaks and aircraft drops fire retardant.
Here are some photos and videos from the scene:
Strong Winds Continue to Help the Fire Grow
Homes Are Seen in the Path of the Fire as Smoke Blocks out Much of the Sun
A Huge Cloud of Smoke Was Seen by News Helicopters Near Prescott
Helicopters Continue to Try to Calm the Blaze
The Blaze Continues to Threaten Multiple Towns