A major forest fire along Arizona's eastern border is burning completely uncontained as high winds and low humidity have triggered a declaration of emergency that coordinates the entire state's response.
Yesterday responders experienced extreme behavior on the Wallow fire due to firecast high winds and low humidity; similar weather conditions are expected today, the Arizona Emergency Information Network said on Tuesday afternoon.
The National Weather Service has issued a 'Red Flag Warning' for southeastern Arizona, most of New Mexico, as well as parts of northern Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma as amid critical fire weather conditions.
The fire has become the second largest in the state's history. Reports say smoke has caused hazy skies in Denver several hundred miles away. The fire has expanded north after it began over a week ago.
The Wallow Fire has spread to at least 311,000 acres (486 square miles) from 230,00 acres (359 square miles), the Arizona Republic reported.
Fire officials said Tuesday morning that four structures had been destroyed and 384 structures were in harm's way. More than 2,500 people are attempting to put it out the fire.
The Arizona National Guard said three 2,500 gallon fuel tankers were supporting firefighting operations for an indefinite time, according to KVOA.
Second Major Fire
Nearly 900 responders are taking on smaller, but still significant Horseshoe two fire, about 60 miles south of the Wallow Fire near Portal, Arizona. It has burned through 162 square miles (104,285 acres) and is 55 percent contained, according to AZEIN.
Firefighters are fortifying containment lines on the north and northwest portions of the wildfire to protect the community of Whitetail and Chiricahua National Monument.
Strong wind gusts may again prevent the use of helicopters to support firefighters, according to a notice.
The Coronado National Forest just west will close on Thursday at noon due to concerns.
On Monday Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a Declaration of Emergency, releasing $200,000 in funds to pay for emergency responses and recovery expenses. The state's emergency operations center has opened to coordinate Arizona's response.
So far, all costs associated with the response had been paid for by a federal fire management assistance grant.