Bringham Fire burns over 20,000 acres in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

A 39-mile stretch of a scenic highway in a sparsely populated part of eastern Arizona is closed due to a wildfire burning in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

Travelers can get around the closure of U.S. 191 between Morenci and Hannagan Meadow by detouring on U.S. 180 and State Route 78 in western New Mexico, the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

"Highway 191 remains closed in both directions between Mile Marker 189 past Juan Miller Road and Mile Marker 225 at Blue Vista. This closure will remain in place through June 27, 2020 and may be extended as needed. Members of the public are advised to drive with caution and leave roadways clear for emergency vehicles and equipment to pass," stated officials.

The fire started June 6 about 22 (35 kilometers) miles north of Morenci and as of June 24 had burned 22,320 acres of timber and brush with over 300 firefighters and other personnel assigned to it, according to a post on the Inciweb multi-agency website.

As of June 24, the lightning-caused fire is 40% contained.

Fire officials say winds are pushing the fire northward off Red Mountain and down into the southwestern side of Strayhorse Canyon.

Crews are working on structure protection in the surrounding areas, including the Rose Peak Lookout Tower and several private properties.

More information on road and highway closures can be found here: https://azdot.gov/adot-news/us-191-closed-eastern-arizona-mountains-due-bringham-fire.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.