Arizona fire crews are currently battling a devastating blaze that has already grown into the third largest in the state’s history.
According to recent reports by CNN, The ‘Wallow Fire’ in eastern Arizona began nine days ago as a small blaze, and then on Wednesday night jumped from 6,000 to more than 40,000 acres, picked up energy and has now burned more than192,746 acres and forced the evacuation of more than 2,200 people.
There are currently are close to 2,500 firefighters on the scene attempting to contain this steadily creeping giant.
When combined with two other ongoing blazes, Horseshoe Two -which currently holds the rank of 5th largest in Arizona’s history- and 37,500-acre Murphy Fire, this year’s wildfire season start is easily the worst in decades.
According to experts in the field, Arizona fire conditions are the worst in years mainly due to a 12 year drought, minimal rainfall throughout the winter, dry vegetation and warmer temperatures.
On top of that, La Nina- a weather phenomenon associated with abnormally cooler Pacific Ocean water temps normally resulting in less rainfall and drier conditions for southwest states- is the strongest it has been since the 70’s.
Forecasters predict that fire conditions will only get worse as winds are expected to get as high as 30 mph today as a lower pressure trough moves out of Arizona.
“It’s not good,” Tom Clemmons, a weather service meteorologist in Flagstaff, said of the forecast.
Check out footage of the blaze courtesy of ABC15.com below: