The Wallow Fire along Arizona's eastern border forests is heading towards a high-voltage link that deliver 40 percent of the power used by 371,000 homes and businesses in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, said El Paso Electric.
The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona is approximately 15 miles from El Paso Electric’s Springerville-Luna transmission line and is expected to reach the transmission lines in the next three days, if it continues to move at its current speed. The company warned that 90,000 people could be without power by Friday if the lines are damaged.
About 2,000 residents of Eagar, in eastern Arizona, were ordered to evacuate Tuesday as flames approached the town in the afternoon, while another Arizona town, Springerville, has ordered 2,000 residents to prepare for evacuation.
As many as 5,000 residents in all have been displaced in the White Mountains region, a popular vacation destination for Arizonans seeking to escape the summer heat, since the fire erupted on May 29.
The fire destroyed 11 buildings, but no serious injuries have been reported. The Wallow Fire has now scorched over 389,000 acres in eastern Arizona, making it the second largest wildfire in the state’s history.
Authorities believe the fire was started on May 29 by an unattended camp fire. After the fire became out of control, strong winds fanned it. So far, firefighters are having trouble battling the flames and do not have the fire contained.
Arizona’s largest fire is called the Rodeo-Chedeski Fire that occurred in 2002 and burned 467,000 acres.
Meanwhile, the Horseshoe Two Fire burning near Portal, Arizona is approximately 107,000 acres and is estimated at 50 percent containment.