Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wallow Fire Blazes 300,000 Acres; Still Uncontained

In less than 24 hours, Wallow engulfed some 78,000 acres of land. Fire officials said the unrelenting wildfire's total destruction is 311,481 acres. As of Tuesday afternoon, the fire is 0 percent contained.

Arizona's largest fire is called the Rodeo-Chedeski Fire, which burned 467,000 acres in 2002.

Firefighters are having a hard time containing the Wallow Fire because of weather conditions – high heat and strong winds – fueling the flames and moving the fire in unpredictable patterns.

The Wallow Fire started on May 29 as a small fire but started ballooning in size Wednesday night. It has forced the evacuation of smaller mountain communities Alpine, Blue River, Greer, Nutrioso and Sunrise, according to Arizona's radio station KTAR. Residents of larger towns such as Springerville and Eager are in pre-evacuation mode, and are prepared to leave if the wildfire spreads to their area.

Wind speeds of up to 30 to 40 mph are proving problematic to firefighters' efforts to contain the flaming beast.

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