SUPERIOR – Gila County is allowing some residents of Miami to return home. The county’s Division of Health and Emergency Management announced the change via its Facebook page around noon on Thursday.
Residents who live on the south side of Highway 60 from Dairy Canyon west to Mackey’s Camp and Schultz Ranch will be able to return home, according to the press release. However, the area is listed as in a “Set” status, which means that residents should be ready to evacuate quickly.
The Arizona Department of Transportation reopened part of State Route 177 Thursday between Winkelman and Superior around noon Thursday. However, U.S. 60 remains closed to allow fire crews to work in the area.
State Route 70 from Stafford to Globe and State Route 77 from Winkelman to Globe were reopened Wednesday, said Gila County Sheriff’s Lt. Tom Scott during a Wednesday evening Facebook Live update. That situation could change with the direction of the fire.
The fire incident command staff are working with local and state officials to determine when residents can return home, said Chad Rice, a planning operations section chief for the incident command Thursday morning. It is unknown when that might happen.
However, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office did move the communities of Superior and Battle Axe to “ready” status, a step down from “set” status. Set status requires residents to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
The communities of Top-of-the-World and Oak Flat remain in “Go” status, according to PCSO’s Facebook page.
Light to moderate smoke is expected to drift to the northeast today across the U.S. 60 corridor between Glob and Miami.
The fire has burned approximately 85,335 acres and is 40% contained. Fire crews have had a lot of success keeping the fire south of U.S. 60 Wednesday and overnight, Rice. Fire crews plan more burn operations near Top-of-the-World Thursday in order to protect homes and infrastructure in the area.
During Wednesday’s Facebook Live event, Telegraph fire Operations Section Chief Todd Abel said that the situation around Superior is looking good and they will continue to monitor the area to make sure the fire does not flare up.
Crews are still working in the area of Top-of-the-World to build a line to protect the whole community, he said. They are also working hard in the areas of Miami, Claypool, Icehouse and Six Shooter canyons and Russell Gulch. Crews are looking at ways to use roads in the area to help stop the spread of the fire.
Officials expect the most growth from the fire to happen on its east side and up the backside of Signal Peak, said Fire Behavior Analyst Robb Beery, Wednesday evening. High temperatures and low humidity over the weekend is expected to make the firefighters work harder.
Emergency management officials from both Pinal and Gila counties urged residents to sign up to their home counties emergency management notifications system, Everbridge in Gila County and PENS in Pinal County.
The systems can send residents notices of when to evacuate and when it will be safe to return home, said Gila County Emergency Management official Carl Melford.
Pinal County Emergency Manager Chuck Kmet reminded the public to stay out of areas that had been closed due to the fire and that the firefighters were getting all of the food, water and supplies they needed.
APS is working on damaged lines near Top-of-the-World in an effort to get power turned back on to the community, Scott said Wednesday. But it is unknown when power might be restored.