A portion of the Bush fire burns through the Tonto National Forest, June 16, as seen from Apache Junction, Ariz.

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Arizona wildfire now the largest in US after doubling in size, burn scar seen from space

A raging wildfire burning northeast of Phoenix, Ariz., is now the largest active fire in the nation, doubling in size Tuesday and spurring more evacuations.

Officials from the Tonto National Forest said Tuesday the blaze, known as the Bush Fire, has grown to at least 64,513 acres with 0 percent containment. The wildfire has doubled in size since the start of the week and was originally sparked June 13. Officials call it a “human-caused vehicle fire.”

“This fire is burning very heavy,” Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management public affairs officer Tiffany Davila told The Arizona Republic. “It’s running through dense fuels in the area, some of the reasons behind the smoke that we’re seeing.”

ARIZONA WILDFIRES RAGE AS BLAZE NORTHEAST OF PHOENIX SPURS EVACUATIONS, 2 OTHER FIRES GROW

According to data from the National Fire Information Center, the Bush Fire is the largest of 43 active large blazes burning across the country.

A portion of the Bush fire burns through the Tonto National Forest, June 16, as seen from Apache Junction, Ariz.
(AP Photo/Matt York)

State fire officials said the blaze is being driven by high winds and heavy, continuous, dry grass and brush. It grew dramatically in size from 59 square miles to 101 square miles as of Tuesday morning.

Satellite images released by NASA on Wednesday show the burn scar from the Bush Fire on June 14.

The Bush Fire is the largest in Arizona this year and the largest in the United States right now as seen in this NASA photo from June 14.

The Bush Fire is the largest in Arizona this year and the largest in the United States right now as seen in this NASA photo from June 14.
(NASA)

The images show the infrared signature where the active fire lines are burning through the smoke.

The Bush Fire grew dramatically in size from 59 square miles to 101 square miles as of Tuesday morning.

The Bush Fire grew dramatically in size from 59 square miles to 101 square miles as of Tuesday morning.
(NASA)


In one of the more detailed photos, red lines can be seen stretching across the mountains. Those red lines are fire retardant dropped to keep the fire from advancing toward settled areas, according to NASA.

The burn scar from the Bush Fire and fire retardent lines seen in thie NASA photo from June 14, 2020.

The burn scar from the Bush Fire and fire retardent lines seen in thie NASA photo from June 14, 2020.
(NASA)

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin also assembled a short animation using imagery from the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite that shows the fire spreading at night.

The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Phoenix said NOAA satellites are “working hard at night” to show the location of the larger wildfires burning across the state, including the Bush Fire.

More than 400 firefighters are battling the Bush Fire with helicopters, fire engines, bulldozers and airplanes

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New evacuation orders were issued Tuesday in the Apache Lake area as the fire continues to spread.

The wildfire, which has prompted evacuations in three rural communities and closed parts of two state highways, has grown dramatically in size from 59 square miles to 101 square miles as of Tuesday morning officials said.

The wildfire, which has prompted evacuations in three rural communities and closed parts of two state highways, has grown dramatically in size from 59 square miles to 101 square miles as of Tuesday morning officials said.
(AP Photo/Matt York)

More than 1,500 people have been evacuated so far from the Tonto Basin and Sunflower communities.

Fire officials said that crews are focusing on structure protection in the Punkin Center and Tonto Basin communities

“No structures have been damaged, and firefighters are working to protect State Highways 87 and 188, private property, communication sites, Mt. Ord lookout tower, 3-Bar Cabin and powerlines,” officials stated.

The Red Cross set up a shelter for fire evacuees at Lee Kornegay School in Miami, according to FOX10.

There are also multiple highway closures as a result of the Bush Fire, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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Across the rest of the state, the Bighorn Fire has burned nearly 16,000 acres in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson; it was 40 percent contained as of Wednesday morning.

Near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Mangum Fire charred nearly 30,000 acres in Kaibab National Forest; it was 3 percent contained.

From California into the Southwest and the High Plains, fire danger continues on Wednesday with another day of breezy, hot and dry conditions.

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Red Flag warnings have been issued from California’s Sacramento Valley to eastern Colorado and western Kansas.

Fire season typically peaks in the Southwest in June and July.

In a seasonal forecast issued on June 1, the National Interagency Fire Center predicted “above normal significant large fire potential” in the region, especially Arizona.

Fox News‘ Janice Dean contributed to this report.

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