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Telegraph Fire in US Arizona spreads to 600 square km

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-06-17 10:01
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Smoke plumes rise from a blaze as a wildfire rages on in Arizona, US, June 7, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

LOS ANGELES - A huge wildfire burning in the US state of Arizona had scorched 148,299 acres (600.1 square km) with 59 percent containment, according to the latest information updated Wednesday morning by Inciweb, an interstate incident information system.

The wildfire, dubbed Telegraph Fire, started on June 10 in Pinal County and located less than 1 mile from the 250-person community Top-of-the-World. It has become the sixth largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Over 1,000 crews were fighting the blaze, the authority said. However, firefighters lost more ground overnight to it, which grew from 139,615 acres burned on Tuesday evening and containment dropped to 59 percent from 68 percent earlier.

Crews had little help from the hot, dry weather, Pinal County Emergency Management Director Chuck Kmet said in a briefing Tuesday night. "Right now it's too dangerous, too active to send any of our damage-assessment folks."

The firefighters focused on protecting Top-of-the-World and other communities near the mountain area torched by the fire.

According to local Fox 10 news channel Wednesday noon, officials disclosed the fire had merged with the Mescal Fire. It could be good news for firefighters because the fire is moving into an area of the Mescal Fire that has already burned.

With no size increase in four days, the Mescal Fire incident management team issued its final daily update Monday. The blaze to the east of the Telegraph Fire had consumed 72,250 acres with 88 percent containment at the time.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Monday called a special session of the Legislature to consider a proposed $100 million investment in combating and preventing wildfires. He also issued emergency declarations for the Telegraph Fire and Mescal Fire, making available up to 400,000 dollars for response efforts.

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