Crews gain toehold against wildfire threatening communities

National

In this photo provided by Rusty Bowers, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers walks through the remains of his family’s weekend home on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, that was destroyed by a wildfire the day before. Bowers used the home in the remote mountains as a family retreat and often did his artwork there. (Elijah Cardon/Rusty Bowers via AP)

GLOBE, Ariz. (AP) — Firefighters in south-central Arizona have gained a toehold against a massive wildfire that has burned at least five structures and forced thousands of people to evacuate rural towns and shut down several highways.

The so-called Telegraph Fire burning south of Superior in Pinal County and near Miami in Gila County grew to 119 square miles (300 square kilometers) but was 18% contained as of Tuesday night, according to Inciweb, the interagency wildfire site.

The blaze was first reported Friday south of Superior, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Phoenix.

Residents of Globe, Miami and smaller communities have been in various stages of the evacuation process.

The Inciweb report didn’t provide details on that structures burned but Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers confirmed Tuesday that his family’s second home in woods near the Globe-Miami area was lost.

At least 2,500 homes in Gila County have been evacuated, Carl Melford, the county emergency manager, said Tuesday. He estimated that there are twice as many households in the “set” mode with bags packed just in case.

Meanwhile, Superior residents also remained in “set” mode.

Other fires were southeast of Globe and in northern Arizona northwest of Flagstaff.

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