Highway closures

SUPERIOR -- Authorities in south-central Arizona ordered the evacuation Saturday of outlying areas of one community due to a threatening wildfire and advised residents of a Pinal County town to prepare for possible evacuation due to another wildfire.

Three highways in the area were also closed.:

  • US 70 is CLOSED from Globe to Fort Thomas.
  • SR 77 is CLOSED from Globe to Winkelman.
  • SR 177 is CLOSED from Superior to Winkelman.

Evacuations were ordered for several areas on the outskirts of Peridot on the San Carlos Apache Reservation due to a fire driven by winds to within 4 miles (6 kilometers) of the community, said Dave Shell, a spokesman for the incident management team assigned to the fire.

Shell said he didn't have information on how many homes were involved.

As of Saturday, the fire had burned 12 square miles (32 square kilometers) of grass and brush, with containment around 5% of its perimeter.

The 400 firefighters battling the fire nearing Peridot were aided by large air tankers but those crews and others battling the separate fire that prompted an advisory notice for the town of Superior faced hot, dry and windy conditions.

A top-tier incident command team has been ordered for the second fire, which has burned 11 square miles (28 kilometers) of shrub and grass since starting Friday, fire officials said in a statement. “It continues to exhibit extreme fire behavior."

The fire was about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Superior on Saturday, said John Scaggs, a Tonto National Forest spokesman.

Superior has approximately 3,100 residents and is 57 miles (92 kilometers) east of Phoenix.

The causes of both fires were under investigation.

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