Arizona wildfires shutting down highways throughout the state

June 23, 2021

Tyson Fisher


Wildfires in Arizona are shutting down highways, with the Walnut Fire hopping over Interstate 10 southeast of Tucson.

On Wednesday morning, the Arizona Department of Transportation was reporting numerous highway closures due to wildfires. The Walnut Fire near Dragoon, Ariz., temporarily shut down a small portion of I-10.

As of 9:30 a.m. local time, the Walnut Fire has grown to nearly 8,000 acres approximately 7 miles northwest of Dragoon and about 50 miles southeast of Tucson. According to ADOT’s 511 map, the exit ramp on I-10 westbound near Dragoon Road (321) is closed. At one point, I-10 was closed in both directions in the area. As of publication, the interstate has reopened, with only the exit ramp closure in place.

According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, the Walnut Fire began at around 6 a.m. on Sunday, June 20.

The cause of the wildfire is unknown and currently under investigation. Evacuation orders are in place for Dragoon Road, East Dragoon Road, North Amerind Road and Triangle T Roads. The wildfire is at 0% containment.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the state, more wildfires are causing road closures. About 16 miles from the New Mexico border in Hannagan Meadow, the Bear Fire is burning 7,300 acres at 0% containment as of Tuesday, June 22. Consequently, U.S. 191 is closed in both directions south of Alpine from mile marker 195 on the south to mile marker 225 (Blue Vista) on the north. There is no estimated time for reopening.

About 55 miles south of Flagstaff, the Backbone Fire is burning more than 38,000 acres at 1% containment. That wildfire has shut down portions of state Route 260 and state Route 87. Specifically, state Route 260 is closed in both directions between Camp Verde at mile marker 227 and state Route 87 at mile marker 252. State Route 87 is closed in both directions between Houston Mesa Road in Payson at mile marker 255 and Lake Mary Road at mile marker 290.

Smaller fires also are closing highways. State Route 260 from west of Heber to Clay Springs is currently shut down. Additionally, state Route 377 from Heber to Holbrook. ADOT is also reporting the closure of state Route 277 from state Route 377 to Heber. LL


Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.