The Mescal Fire has been burning since June 1 on the San Carlos Apache Nation near Globe east of metro Phoenix.
The wildfire was burning east of the Telegraph Fire near the towns of Superior and Miami.
Arizona wildfires: What we know about the Telegraph Fire burning west of Globe
Its cause remained under investigation as of Wednesday, according to an update on the Mescal Fire Information Facebook page.
Here’s what we know about the Mescal Fire as of Wednesday evening.
More than 70,066 acres burned, 33% containment
The fire began in the Mescal Mountains about 7 miles northeast of Dripping Springs and was fueled by grass and brush as well as drought conditions. More than 600 personnel were combating the blaze as of Wednesday.
Fire activity was declining as of Wednesday and crews were working on strengthening fire lines and putting out a spot fire that consumed 2,400 acres near the main blaze, according to InciWeb.
As of Wednesday night, “GO” evacuation announcements — as part of Arizona’s “Ready, Set, Go” emergency framework — were issued for the following communities:
The east side of El Capitan, east of Highway 77, was downgraded from “Go” status to “SET” status as of Wednesday evening, so residents could begin returning home. The area west of Highway 77 was still on “SET” status, Tim Scott with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said during a Wednesday meeting.
The communities of Soda Canyon and Coyote Flats were previously placed back into “SET” status, and about 150 residents there were able to return home.
The following communities will remain in “SET” and should be prepared to “GO” if the situation changes:
- North of Highway 70
- Apache Gold Casino
- Skill Center
- Lower Peridot
What communities, structures are threatened
“Firefighter and public safety are the highest priorities on these fires. Firefighters are also working to protect the communities of San Carlos, Peridot, El Capitan, Drippings Springs, Soda Canyon, Skill Center and Beverly Hills; Mescal and T11 ranches, the powerline supplying San Carlos and Peridot, as well as historic and cultural sites within the fire area,” according to InciWeb.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation on Wednesday, traffic closures include:
- U.S. 60 from Superior to Miami
- State Route 177 from Superior to Winkelman
U.S. 70 has reopened to all traffic, according to the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 5. On Tuesday afternoon, State Route 77 between Globe and Winkelman reopened, as did U.S. 70 between mileposts 256 and 302.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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