Crews are busy fighting a wildfire dubbed the Bug Creek Fire in Arizona today as the blaze rages out of control, closing down Interstate 17 in both directions and threatening the community of Cordes Junction, reported The Daily Courier. The brush fire has also forced the closure of Highway 69 Southbound in Mayer, Arizona, and local news ABC 15 is reporting that no rainfall is expected in the area at this time.
The wildfire is currently threatening the community of Cordes Lakes just north of the Valley. The Arizona Bureau of Land Management is conducting a mandatory evacuation of Sage Brush and Val Vista streets in Cordes Lakes, but more evacuations may be required as the fire continues to gather strength and a pre-evacuation order is in effect for the rest of Cordes Lakes, Arizona. According to Arizona local news ABC 15, officials are using reverse 911 calls and are also going door-to-door in person to alert residents in the area.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there is no current estimate for when the Bug Creek Fire will be contained or when Arizona Interstate 17 can reopen, so motorists in the surrounding areas should consider an alternate route until further notice. The wildfire closure reportedly affects five miles of traffic starting at mile marker 258.0 on Interstate 17, which lies just five miles south of Arizona State Route 69, all the way to I-17 mile marker 263.0, which is located right at the junction with Route 69. Northbound motorists are advised to take State Route 87 to SR 260, picking up Interstate 17 once again when they reach Camp Verde. Southbound drivers should take I-17 south to SR 260 at Camp Verde, then head east to SR 87, which provides an alternate route to the Phoenix area.
Watch air crews battling the Bug Creek Fire.
As of 12:23 p.m. Tuesday local time in Arizona, the Bug Creek wildfire had reached upwards of 100 acres, and the road closures were announced promptly thereafter. By 1:00 p.m., the house-to-house evacuations were underway as the wildfire raged on, and the BLM tweeted that the fire had burned the backyards of some homes. According to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, no structures were reported damaged at that time.
Check out more video of the Bug Creek Wildfire along Arizona Interstate 17 here:
BLM officials in Arizona say mandatory evacuations are also underway for residents who live south of Stagecoach Trail, west of Cordes Lakes Drive, and north of Antelope Road. A shelter has been set up for those who have been displaced by the fire at Mayer High School in Mayer, Arizona.
To remain up to date with the latest interstate conditions in Arizona, including wildfires like the Bug Creek Fire, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center, call 511 or follow ADOT on Twitter @ArizonaDOT.
UPDATE: The Arizona Department of Transportation has announced that Interstate 17 at Cordes Junction has reopened, but the northbound lanes are still closed for a wildfire at mile marker 263.
UPDATE: Southbound Interstate 17 has closed again near Cordes Junction due to smoke billowing from the growing Bug Creek Fire, reported 12 News KFVS.
Traffic is backed up for miles along Interstate 17 in Arizona as the Bug Creek Fire continues to spread.
The Bug Creek wildfire closures along Arizona Interstate 17 this afternoon came after the prior closure of the same highway last Thursday when a brush fire raged out of control and forced authorities to close southbound lanes. Cordes Junction lies just over one hour north of Phoenix and just under one hour southeast of Prescott, Arizona.
The Bug Creek Fire is just one of a growing number of blazes that are threatening lives, homes, and communities throughout California, Arizona and Nevada this summer. In parts of California, more than 60,000 acres have been lost to the wildfires, which have also claimed several lives.
[Photo via Twitter]