The Bush Fire in the Tonto National Forest of Arizona, near Phoenix, is now the largest active wildfire in the United States this week when 43 active large blazes are burning across the country.
The flames spread to more than 89,000 acres by Wednesday, with 05 percent containment. The blaze began on Saturday, likely started by a vehicle fire. Officials evacuated more than 1,500 people from the Tonto Basin and Sunflower communities. Because the pandemic rules are in place, officials asked residents to “practice public health recommendations when relocating” and avoid sick people. "This fire is burning very heavy," Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management public affairs officer Tiffany Davila told media. The blaze is being driven by high winds and heavy, continuous, dry grass and brush. It forced closure of parts of two state highways.
NOAA's GOES-17 satellite captured dramatic images of the fire burning out of control northeast of Phoenix. More than 400 firefighters are battling the Bush Fire with helicopters, fire engines, bulldozers and airplanes. Fire officials said that crews are focusing on structure protection in the Punkin Center and Tonto Basin. Fire season typically peaks in the Southwest in June and July.