Griffin fire closes Highway 60, forces evacuations

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SAN CARLOS — A pair of wildfires are beginning to threatening residences on the San Carlos Apache reservation.

The Griffin fire, located about 9 miles from San Carlos and just 5 miles from the Apache Skills Center, has merged with the Champion fire, increasing the wildfire’s size to 60,056 acres.

The fire has forced the closure of U.S. Highway 60, from the U.S. Highway 70 intersection to BIA road 1956. It’s also prompted an evacuation order for all residents on the east side of U.S. Highway 60, north from the ADOT yard to Winters Ranch. That includes all residents off Fairgrounds Road, Winters Ranch and Johnson Ranch.

The fire is currently at 28 percent containment and Arizona National Guard units have been called in to provide air support in fire suppression.

The other blaze is the Salt fire, about 11 miles north of Globe. That fire is at 20,813 acres and is at 66 percent containment.

Both fires started from lightning strikes Aug. 17.