Gov. Ducey visits area where crews are battling Telegraph, Mescal Fires

Gov. Doug Ducey on June 10 visited south-central Arizona where crews supported by aircraft are working to keep two wildfires out of Globe and several other communities in Gila and Pinal counties.

Ducey took an aerial tour of the two fires, be briefed by fire officials and visit a Red Cross shelter for evacuees before holding a press conference, his office said.

"It was just desolate and without water or precipitation and lifeless, and it went on for miles and miles and miles," said Gov. Ducey.

The fire even wiped out a country cabin owned by State Rep, Rusty Bowers.

"Everything was gone, except one clay pot right in the middle of the fire," said State Rep. Bowers. "Some friends made it for me in Mexico."

Ducey on Wednesday issued an emergency declaration for the two fires. The declaration will make up to $400,000 available for response efforts.

Crews increased containment of one called Telegraph fire burning near Superior and Miami to 40% of its perimeter as of Thursday. The fire is now the ninth largest in Arizona history.

Containment of the so-called Mescal fire southeast of Globe was at 36% as of Thursday.

The Mescal fire has entered a mop-up stage but residents shouldn’t become complacent because embers could be blown over containment lines and start spot fires, fire management team David Shell said. "If it spots, we’re off to the races again."

Between them, the fires had burned at least 247 square miles (640 square kilometers).

In northern Arizona, a fire straddling U.S. 180 about 23 miles (37 kilometers) northwest of Flagstaff has grown to nearly 8 square miles (20 square kilometers) with no containment reported around its perimeter, officials said Thursday.

The highway, a major route to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, is closed because of the fire, which started Monday.

Some evacuees still waiting to return home

The fire has forced the evacuation of a number of communities, some of which have allowed to return home.

For those who are not allowed to return home just yet, hot food and cool air awaits at one evacuation center, which was set up in a middle school.

"It was scary," said Wanda Black. "You think about what we’re supposed to grab -- very little papers things like that, and we left, grab the animals and come on up."

Dogs, meanwhile, are camped out in cages, inside an air conditioned tent. Pets by the dozen are brought to the evaucation center by pet owners, but the pets are not always happy about it.

"They’re very stressed, just like the people, just like their owners. This is very unknown to them," said Dr. Melissa Thompson with the Arizona Humane Society.

With word that Miami is opening back up, Black now gets to go home.

"It's been hard on us but probably brought a little bit more awareness about what you should be prepared for," said Black.

Continuing Coverage

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