Arizona Wildfire

A charred cactus occupies burned ground among homes from the Spur Fire that burned 150 acres and destroyed several homes and other structures Friday, May 28, 2021 in Bagdad, Ariz.

(The Center Square) – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is freeing up extra money to aid in the fight against two large fires that have left tens of thousands of acres charred.

Ducey issued two emergency declarations Wednesday because of the Telegraph and Mescal fires, making up to $400,000 available for increased response. Ducey’s office has requested additional federal funds to help in the effort.

The Telegraph fire has become one of the largest in state history, starting on Friday between Superior and Miami in eastern Arizona. As of 10:30 a.m., the blaze has consumed 80,000 acres and is 21% contained, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Ducey’s office said multiple evacuations had been ordered, and road closures are in place. 

The fire consumed the family home of Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers on Tuesday, officials with his office confirmed. The property was not his primary residence.

Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, has been recording video of the firefighting effort visible from his driveway to the north of the flames. Cook’s community had been ordered to evacuate.

Just to the east, the Mescal fire was 23% contained as of 10 am Wednesday but not before burning more than 70,000 acres of public and private land on the western edge of the San Carlos reservation south of Cutter. While residents near the fire had evacuated, officials said they’ve been allowed to return.

“Firefighters and safety officials have been working around the clock to protect Arizonans, and we need to make sure they have the support they need to successfully fight the wildfires in Pinal and Gila Counties,” Ducey said. “I issued Declarations of Emergency so those responders will have the necessary resources to protect people, pets and property – and we will continue to work closely with local officials to ensure the needs of those communities are met. Arizonans must take the threat of wildfires seriously and follow all safety precautions during these dry months, including following evacuation orders.”

Regional Editor

Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.