Hundreds of fire fighters have been battling the San Juan Fire which has scorched nearly 6,400 acres in eastern Arizona’s White Mountains.
The fire, burning on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, is being fueled by dry mixed conifer trees southeast of Vernon.
The Associated Press reports that the human caused blaze has been burning since last Thursday and officials are still investigating the cause.
Mandatory evacuations remained in effect Tuesday for the subdivisions of Red Cabin Ranch, Whiting Homestead,Carlock Ranch south of Buckelew Springs and Forest Service Road 61 and 2.
The White Mountain Independent reports that between 200-300 Boy Scouts were on vacation in the White Mountains when the wildfire started.
WFSB.com is reporting that fire officials have said they were continuing several burnout operations on the west flank to remove fuel between fire lines and the main body of the fire, and were mopping up hot spots elsewhere.
“The San Juan Fire is heading northeasterly into an area where the White Mountain Stewardship Project has been thinning, and that will definitely help slow down any fire activity,”
Apache-Sitgreaves Nationals Forest Supervisor Jim Zornes said.
Four Hotshot crews, an air attack, a lead plane, three engines, two bulldozers and two heavy air tankers were on the fire.
The San Juan fire is not the first wildfire that Arizona fire personnel have fought this year. In May, nearly 1,000 firefighters worked against flames between Flagstaff and Sedona.
The previously mentioned Associated Press report names several other wildfires that are currently burning in Arizona including a 2-week-old blaze on the Navajo Reservation that will likely continue until the area gets significant rain. The same goes for a fire in the Coronado National Forest, where crews have been managing a lightning caused fire that has blackened more than 16 square miles since being spotted June 17. They are using flames from another fire to improve forest conditions and acknowledge it will continue to smolder until the rains come.
Crews were being released from the fire on the Navajo Reservation so they could help with other fires in the West, while the team battling the San Juan Fire in Arizona was growing.
Arizona and neighboring New Mexico have both been dealing with severe to extreme drought recently. Residents are anxiously awaiting monsoon season to bring much needed precipitation and relief from the fires.
Containment of the San Juan Fire remained at five percent as of Monday night.
Photo via NBC News