Bush Fire in Arizona shuts down sections of state highways

June 19, 2020

Tyson Fisher

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Wildfires in Arizona are spreading across the Grand Canyon State, with the Bush Fire shutting down highways just northeast of Phoenix.

About six active wildfires are currently burning more than 300,000 acres in Arizona, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. The largest wildfire, the Bush Fire, is spread across more than 150,000 acres at 7% containment as of noon Mountain Standard Time on June 19.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Bush Fire has closed several sections of state highways.

State Route 87 is closed from Payson (mile marker 251) to Bush Highway (mile marker 199). State Route 188 is closed between SR 87 (mile marker 276) and Roosevelt Lake (mile marker 243). In addition, state Route 88 is closed between Apache Lake (mile marker 229) and State Route 188 (mile marker 242).

Bush Fire highway closures
The section boxed in on this ADOT Arizona Traveler Information map shows highway closures as a result of the Bush Fire.

ADOT also notes that the long-term SR 88 closure from east of Tortilla Flat to Apache Lake remains in effect. This means drivers may not travel east of Tortilla Flat right now on SR 88, according to ADOT.

There are no estimated times for reopening. However, ADOT expects the closures to be lengthy ADOT suggests using State Route 260 to Interstate 17 as an alternative route.

According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, the human-caused Bush Fire began on June 13.  Located about 38 miles northeast of Mesa along State Route 87, more than 600 fire personnel have only managed to contain the wildfire by 7% as of Friday morning.

No structures have been damaged and no injuries have been reported.

Weather forecasts are not looking favorable. High temperatures and low relative humidity is expected. Steep terrain and a heavy grass crop exacerbates the already bad weather conditions. Forecasts expect winds to diminish to 10-20 mph. Typically, wildfires tend to slow down at night with the lower temperatures. However, The National Wildfire Coordinating Group states that the Bush Fire remains active overnight.

As of Friday morning, Brownsville, Jake’s Corner, Slate Creek, Pioneer Pass, Tonto Basin, Punkin Center and Sunflower residents are under evacuation orders. Residents and visitors to Apache Lake also must evacuate. Residents of The 76 Ranch, BT Ranch, Deer Creek, Gisela and Rye remain on alert mode.

Bush Fire in Arizona shuts down sections of state highways
Bush Fire rages at Tonto National Forest.
(From https://www.facebook.com/bushfireinfo/. Used with permisssion.)
Tyson Fisher

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.