Mescal Fire and Telegraph Fire each surpasses 50,000 acres

Contributed Photo: The Telegraph Fire has burned more than 40,000 acres and is threatening the communities near Miami, Arizona.

More evacuations ordered for Telegraph Fire

Update: An evacuation order has been issued for the Boyce Thompson Arboretum

By Jon Johnson

GILA AND PINAL COUNTIES – The Mescal Fire and Telegraph Fire, which have prompted evacuations, have both eclipsed 50,000 acres in size as of infrared flights performed Sunday night. 

Mescal Fire

The Mescal Fire was listed at 52,887 acres as of late Sunday night, with 8% containment, according to a briefing by Operations Section Chief Marcus Cornwell. 

Firing operations were performed along U.S. Highway 70 on Sunday night and will perform more burnouts and perhaps aerial ignition operations 

To the south, firing operations were performed all the way to the Gila River to the east of San Carlos Lake. The fire is burning toward a scar from the Rockhouse Fire from last Fall. 

Heavy smoke is expected in the Globe/Miami area and will push northeast into the Peridot/San Carlos area before eventually making its way into the Gila Valley and Morenci/Clifton area. N-95 masks for smoke-sensitive residents are available at the Miami Police Department at 740 W. Sullivan St. in Miami. 

Mescal Fire operations are assessing the area to the west of Highway 77 to stop the Mescal Fire from merging with the Telegraph Fire. According to Cornwell, many resources have been diverted to assist in battling the Telegraph Fire, and more will likely be moved if fire operations on the Mescal Fire continue to improve. 

The Mescal Fire began June 1 roughly 12 miles southeast of Globe and has grown in all directions. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

A total of 672 personnel were assigned to the fire as of Monday. U.S. Highway 70 is closed to heavy (semis) traffic, but it is open to light traffic, routed on a detour around the fire.

Telegraph Fire

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation for residents west of the Miami town limits Sunday evening. 

Walt Mares Photo/Gila Herald: Mountain peaks in the Clifton area are almost hidden by thick smoke that encompassed the area on Saturday, June 5. Strong winds blew smoke into the area from wildfires reportedly burning on the San Carlos Apache reservation.

Previously, a “SET” notification was issued for the following: 

  • Miami
  • Claypool homes on the south side of U.S. Highway 60 from the junction of Highway 60 and 188 west through Miami
  • Little Acres
  • Russell Road/Russell Gulch
  • Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center

Previously, residents of Top-of-the-World between Superior and Miami were told to evacuate as the fire was less than a mile from residences. The town of Superior has also previously been given a “SET” notice from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. 

Contributed Photo: The Telegraph Fire sends smoke into the sky.

The fire began June 4 near Top-of-the-World and is listed as being human-caused but still under investigation. 

As of Monday, the Telegraph Fire was listed at 56,600 acres. 

The Red Cross has moved its evacuation shelter from Miami to Globe at High Desert Middle School, 4000 High Desert Dr. in Globe. Another shelter is located in Mesa, at Skyline High School.