Mescal, Telegraph fires continue to burn

The Telegraph fire as seen from Globe on Sunday evening. - Contributed Photo/Leslie Petty

GLOBE — Two wildfires to the west of Graham County have severely impact Gila Valley residents’ ability to travel to the Phoenix area, and are threatening the communities of Superior, Peridot and Top of the World.

As of 8:50 a.m. Monday, the Telegraph fire is at 41,109 acres and is zero-percent contained.

The fire forced the evacuation of Miami residents south of U.S. Highway 60, Top of the World and Oak Flat campground, and has resulted in Superior and potions of Globe being in Set mode for evacuation.

It has also forced the closure of U.S. Highway 60 between Superior and Miami in both directions.

The Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team assumed responsibility of the Telegraph fire early Sunday morning and additional resources continue to be assigned to the fire. There are currently 191 personnel assigned to battle the fire.

The fire started Friday, June 1 and, while investigation into the cause of the fire continues, it is believed to be human-started.

The Telegraph fire, in center in red, and the Mescal fire, right in red, are observed by VIIRS onboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite. Also visible is black smoke emanating from a fire in a recycling yard in Phoenix. – Contributed Photo/NASA

Also as of Monday morning, the Mescal fire is at 52,887 acres and is 8-percent contained.

The fire has forced the evacuation of Soda Canyon, the San Carlos High School area and residents of El Capitan east of State Route 77. In Set mode are Lower Peridot and Peridot South, El Capitan west of SR 77, Beverly Hills, the T11 Ranch and the Skill Center.

Temporary shelters have been set up at the Apache Gold Casino Bingo Hall, the Gilson Wash Activity Center and Lee Kornegay Elementary School in Miami. A livestock shelter was also made available at the Apache Gold Pavilion.

A total of 672 personnel have been assigned to fight the blaze.

The fire has closed U.S. Highway 70 to commercial traffic and semi-tractor trailers between Fort Thomas and Globe.

The fire was discovered June 1 and cause remains under investigation.

A third area wildfire, the Sam fire just north of Bylas, burned 477 acres and was at 90-percent containment as of Monday.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10:43 a.m. Monday, June 7, 2021, with the acreage burned by the Mescal fire and the evacuation of a portion of Miami.

Wildland firefighters stage before attacking the Mescal fire. As of Monday the fire had burned 52,887 acres and was at 8-percent containment. – Contributed Photo