Wildfires continue to cause issues in Arizona in June, including the Bush Fire that is now as large as Salt Lake City. Read on for details about the fires, their locations, containment size, maps, and more. The biggest news so far for today is the Bush Fire, where more evacuations have been ordered. As news can change quickly, be sure to watch your local news for the latest evacuation details.
Interactive Maps of Arizona Fires
One of the best interactive maps available right now is Inciweb’s map. You can see the full map here. There’s an embeddable Google Map that includes Inciweb fires which you can see below in Arizona. Depending on your browser, you may need to zoom in using the + button within the map or change settings to only show Inciweb fires. Make sure that the Legend on the right, you have “Inciweb Wildfire Information” checked or you might not see the fires.
You can also see an interactive fire map for the Arizona area, provided by NWCG.gov. An embedded version is below, but click on the link to see a full version. You can click on the map below and drag the map around to see different locations.
Here are the fires currently in Arizona as of June 16, 2020, including the Bush Fire. These are in alphabetical order by the fire’s name, if available.
2020 RX Burns
These are fires set purposefully to help mitigate damage and contain unexpected fires later. However, prescribed burns are on hold at this time because of COVID-19, Inciweb notes.
Bighorn Fire in Pima County Near Tucson
This fire is now 14,686 acres in size, up from 3,277 acres just five days earlier. The fire is now 30% contained as of June 16. It was started by lightning on June 5 in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness in the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Here’s another Bighorn map from MappingSupport.com.
Evacuations: Evacuations have been ordered in the boundary area of Mt. Lemmon/Mt. Bigelow north of Organization Ridge Road, including Summerhaven, according to Inciweb. These evacuations were ordered at 1:27 p.m. on June 16.
A map of the evacuation regions is below. You can see the full-sized map here.
An evacuation center is open at Sahuaro High School at 545 N. Camino Seco in Tucson. Large animals can be sheltered at Rillito Racetrack in Tucson.
Get Pima County emergency alerts here and stay updated here. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department Facebook is here and the Office of Emergency Management Facebook is here. The webpage for the fire is here.
Blue River Fire
The Blue River Fire is 85% contained and eight miles NE of San Carlos, Arizona. It’s 30,400 acres in size and close to the Dry Lake Fire. It was caused by lightning.
Firefighters have been working to actively suppress the Blue River and the Dry Lake fires since their discovery after a June 5 thunderstorm. Agencies throughout the southwest have been experiencing dry and dangerous conditions with high temperatures and the concern for the COVID-19 pandemic thus creating a complex situation. San Carlos Tribal Forest Resources Program and San Carlos Agency have called the Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team to assist in addressing the complexity and assist in resources management as it relates to these fires.
The Bringham Fire is now 14,625 acres (up from 2,700 acres just five days earlier) as of June 16 and only 5% contained. It started June 10 at 9:28 a.m. The fire was caused by lightning and is 22 miles north of Morenci, Arizona.
Inciweb notes: “The Bringham Fire, located 22 miles north of Morenci, AZ, is currently burning on the Clifton Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. The Bringham Fire was caused by a lightning strike on on June 6, 2020. Due to the increasing complexity of the fire, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests ordered the Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management Team 4 on June 11, 2020. Team 4 assumed command of the fire on June 13, 2020 at 6:00AM. The primary objective for the fire is public and wildland firefighter safety. The management strategy is full suppression.”
Closures: A temporary closure order was set on June 10 for some forest roads, day-use facilities and a campground in the area. Highway 191 is closed in both directions between Mile Mark 189 and 225.
Inciweb noted on June 10:
The Bringham Fire is situated in steep, rugged terrain, and these factors resulted in very active fire behavior today, especially along the southwest flanks. Fire crews successfully completed structure protection at the Rose Peak lookout tower facility, and similar work continues at various cabins of which some are classified as cultural resources.
Preparation for burnout operations along Highway 191 will include the use of helicopters to keep the fire in check, based on predetermined trigger points. The highway is a crucial holding feature, or man-made barrier, that incident managers will utilize to keep the fire contained to the east. To support the planned burnout operations, crews are setting up portable water sources along Highway 191 so that helicopters and crews can have easy access to this vital firefighting resource.
A fire burning northeast of Phoenix grew in size on Tuesday and is now more than 100 square miles, Weather.com reported. The Bush Fire is now the largest fire in the country. The fire started June 13 at 2 p.m. near Bush Highway an Highway 187. The fire is human-caused and under investigation. The map above is provided by MappingSupport.
You can find an updated map from the USDA here.
According to Inciweb, the fire is 64,513 acres in size and 0% contained as of June 16.
Evacuations: Inciweb noted on June 16: “Due to the fire’s growth and movement Emergency Management Services in Gila and Maricopa counties are evacuating the communities of Punkin Center, Tonto Basin and the Sunflower area.”
A map of the current evacuations is below. You can see the full map here.
Danger in these areas is imminent and life threatening. Residents should evacuate immediately to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area. Residents should avoid close contact with those who are sick and should practice public health recommendations when relocating. If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand emergency services may not be able to assist you further. Follow instructions from emergency personnel, stay on designated evacuation routes and avoid closed areas.
Maricopa County noted for the Sunflower area:
Evacuated residents should proceed north towards Payson. Proceed to the Payson Police Department at 303 N. Beeline Highway, Payson, AZ. 85541. Drive with care and follow the directions of emergency personnel. Evacuees may also call the American Red Cross at 1-800-842-7349 for assistance.
Jake’s Corner is now on “SET” mode in the Ready, Set, Go evacuation model.
Here’s a look at smoke forecast from the fire:
Closures: According to Inciweb: “State Highway 87 is closed from near Payson to the Bush Highway. Highway 188 is closed from Highway 60 near Claypool to Highway 87. The best place to get road information is at http://www.az511.com. The Sugarloaf, Four Peaks, Lower Sycamore, Pobrecito, Butcher Jones, the Rolls, Saguaro Del Norte Recreation Areas and Suguaro Lake are all closed at this time.”
Tonto Basin, Jake’s Corner, and Punkin Center residents can get evacuation updates here.
Dry Lake Fire
The Dry Lake Fire is 4,370 acres as of June 10, according to Inciweb. It’s now 90% contained. It was caused by lightning and is 22 miles northeast of Bylas, Arizona.
Inciweb notes: “Firefighters have been working to actively suppress the Blue River and the Dry Lake fires since their discovery after a June 5 thunderstorm. Agencies throughout the southwest have been experiencing dry and dangerous conditions with high temperatures and the concern for the COVID-19 pandemic thus creating a complex situation. San Carlos Tribal Forest Resources Program and San Carlos Agency have called the Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team to assist in addressing the complexity and assist in resources management as it relates to these fires.”
The fire is transitioning back to a local agency for oversight because of successful suppression.
East Desert Fire *
The East Desert Fire is 1,492 acres and 100% contained as of May 25, the last update from Inciweb. The fire is still listed on Inciweb’s map. The fire was caused by human activity and was located four miles north of Cave Creek Regional Park near 24th Street & Desert Hills in Cave Creek.
This fire grew from about 800 acres to 29,689 acres in just five days. As of June 15, it’s 26,689 acres in size and only 3% contained, according to Inciweb. The cause is under investigation and the fire began on June 8 at about 3 p.m. The fire is 9 miles SW of Jacobs Lake at Mangum Springs.
Red flags conditions are making the fire worse.
Here’s another map, provided by Mapping Support.
Incident meteorologists have alerted fire managers that fire weather conditions will deteriorate Tuesday including another red flag warning after 11 a.m. Ridgetop winds are to reach 35 miles per hour…
Today firefighters will attempt to tie yesterday’s spot fire near Lefever overlook into the perimeter. Jacob Lake structure protection resources will continue working around the community. Around the rest of the perimeter, efforts to secure fire’s spread near Little Mountain will continue. Crews will patrol, hold, and improve less active sections of the line to the south.
Closures: ” Highway 89A is closed from Marble Canyon to Fredonia. Highway 67 from Jacob Lake to the Grand Canyon National Park is also closed. Due to the road closures, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park is presently inaccessible. The U.S. Forest Service has closed the entire fire area to entry.”
Follow the U.S. Forest Service – Kaibab National Forest’s Facebook page for updates.
This fire is 980 acres and now 100% contained as of June 2. It was 1.3 miles northwest of Cave Creek and is still listed on Inciweb’s map.
The Range Fire is 3,286 acres and now 100% contained as of June 1. The cause is unknown. The fire was located six miles north of Florence at the National Guard Firing Range. It’s still listed on Inciweb’s map.
This fire is now 85% contained and 24,729 acres as of June 10 at 11:22 a.m., the latest update from Inciweb. The fire was caused by lightning in the Superstition Mountains, two miles northeast of Peralta Trailhead, Tonto National Forest. Minimal fire activity is now being observed and the fireline has been restored to a more natural state, according to Inciweb. You can stay updated on Tonto National Forest’s Facebook page.
This fire is 3,140 acres and now 100% contained, according to Inciweb. It started on June 10 by lightning in the Tortolita Mountains, north of Oro Valley.
Inciweb noted: “Tortolita is now 100% contained as of Thursday, June 11, 2020. Final acreage is 3,140 and that is due to better, more accurate mapping. The fire started last Friday by a lightning strike after a thunderstorm rolled over the Tortolita Mountains, north of Oro Valley. One engine remains to patrol and monitor containment lines.”
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