Arizona’s uncontained Wallow Fire, the third-largest wildfire in the state’s history, has burned through over 144,000 acres of land, and counting.
The Wallow Fire – named after Bear Wallow Wilderness, near where the fire is thought to have started – has forced the evacuation of at least 2,200 people from their homes in eastern Arizona. So far, there are no reported injuries. But that good news is counterbalanced by the fact that the fire is 0 percent contained.
“It’s a very significant fire,” said Brad Pitassi, spokesman for the Southwest Area Incident Management Team, which is supervising the firefighting efforts, according to CNN. Pitassi said the fire has “a lot of growth potential.”
The week-old blaze, which began on May 29, is fueled by dry bush and strong winds. The Apache County sheriff’s department is investigating what started the fire. But fire officials suspect that an unattended campfire may be behind the raging blaze, according to The Arizona Republic.
Initially, the Wallow fire was small, but then on Wednesday night it grew from 6,000 to over 40,000 acres. And within a few days it expanded to 144,000 acres.
Firefighters are worried that forecasted dry thunderstorms in Arizona could mean lightning strikes would cause more fire. Some 1,300 firefighters are currently working to contain the monster fire.
So far this year, wildfires have burned over 3 million acres in drought-stricken southern states, notably Texas and New Mexico. In April, Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared a statewide three-day period of prayer for rain as wildfire consumed over a million acres of land following severe drought.