Bush Fire northeast of Phoenix area nears 187,000 acres, 61% contained

Jun 22, 2020, 9:15 PM | Updated: 10:02 pm
(InciWeb Photo)...
(InciWeb Photo)
(InciWeb Photo)

PHOENIX – The Bush Fire outside of metro Phoenix has grown to nearly 187,000 acres and was 61% contained as of Monday night, fire officials said.

The blaze had been 42% contained Monday morning, according to authorities.

It is the fifth-largest wildfire in Arizona’s history, based on KTAR News 92.3 FM research.

There are currently 587 personnel working to contain the fire, according to InciWeb.

Monday afternoon, Gila County Sheriff J. Adam Sheppard announced in a press release that State Route 188 between State Route 87 and State Route 88 at Roosevelt Dam will open to all traffic in both directions beginning at noon on Tuesday.

Northbound traffic in the area will be restricted to one lane and forest closures will remain in effect.

Evacuation warning levels have also been downgraded.

“‘Set’ notifications for all communities within Gila County have been lifted and should be considered in the ‘Ready’ state of the Ready, Set, Go model,” Sheppard said in the release.

The blaze in the Tonto National Forest has eaten through land around State Route 87 northeast of Mesa and is the largest fire burning in the United States.

On Friday, the Bush Fire took over the No. 5 spot from the Woodbury Fire, which whipped through nearly 124,00 acres in the Superstition Mountains a year ago. That fire, which started June 8, 2019, was not fully contained until mid-July.

The Horseshoe Two Fire, which burned through 222,954 acres in Cochise County in 2011, is No. 4 on the list.

The human-caused Bush blaze was sparked June 13 by a vehicle fire.

The American Red Cross has opened evacuation centers at the Payson Police Department and Lee Kornegay Intermediate School in Miami.

No people or structures have been damaged, according to wildfire updates.

Nearly 850 personnel had been assigned to the fire.

Multiple roads around and through the area are currently closed:

  • State Route 87 between the Bush Highway and Payson.
  • SR 188 between SR 87 and Roosevelt Lake.
  • SR 88 between Apache Lake and SR 188. (The long-term closure of SR 88 east of Tortilla Flat to Apache Lake means vehicles can’t travel east of Tortilla Flat on SR 88).

The following recreation areas in the vicinity also are closed: Sugarloaf, Four Peaks, Lower Sycamore, Pobrecito, Butcher Jones, the Rolls, Saguaro Del Norte Recreation Areas and Saguaro Lake.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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Bush Fire northeast of Phoenix area nears 187,000 acres, 61% contained