A dozen wildfires have torched nearly 400,000 burned acres in Arizona and have left much of the state, particularly the southeastern portion, in ruins. Nearly half of that acreage has come from the Bush Fire blazing in the Tonto National Forest, just north of Phoenix, according to AccuWeather.

As of Monday (June 22) morning, the still-young 2020 wildfire season has already burned more Arizona land than all but two years since 2002. Three current active wildfires in the state all rank in the top-10 for largest blazes in Arizona history, marking the first time since 2011 that multiple, historic-sized fires have burnt simultaneously.

Bush Fire

After igniting on June 13, the Bush Fire has grown rapidly in the past week, up to 184,674 acres as of Monday morning. The fire is now the fifth-largest in state history with 42% containment, according to officials. It’s also the largest blaze currently burning in the United States.

The inferno was ignited by a vehicle fire and led to evacuations in nearby areas such as Brownsville, Jake’s Corner, Slate Creek, Pioneer Pass and Punkin Center before evacuation orders were lifted on Sunday morning.

“It has just been a monster of a season for us and extremely busy,” Dave Ramirez, South Zone Fire Management officer, said according to AZCentral.com. “It’s been very busy for us, actually, in the past two years.”

According to local fire officials, all residents are prohibited from burning any sort of fire, including campfires and cooking stove fires, in the Tonto National Forest.

Bighorn Fire

The state’s second-fastest-growing fire, the Bighorn Fire increased by over 8,000 acres on Sunday to 51,628 total acres as of Monday morning. The fire has been the most destructive of any blaze in the state, causing $18.2 million of damage, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

After reaching 40% containment on Friday, conditions worsened and the containment decreased to 16% by Monday, the least contained of any of the state’s major current blazes. It has required the attention of 969 firefighting personnel, the most of any fire. Burning in Coronado National Forest, the frightening spread of the blaze has escalated the classification from a type-3 to a type-1 fire.

“With this type-1 team there is a lot of complexity, a lot of levels, a lot of layers but the communication is the most important part and it’s been great, the level of communication on this team,” said Adam Jarrold, Public Information Officer of the Bighorn Fire, according to KVOA.com.

A type-1 fire is the highest and most serious level of firefighting attention, as the classification means the risk level to structures and properties are at their peak.

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