Arizona wildfire may be biggest in state history

By

Published:

 

LUNA, N.M. (AP) -- A fire in eastern Arizona is burning more acres than the largest in state history, although some of that area is in New Mexico.

The Wallow Fire has burned more than 733 square miles, mainly ponderosa pine. Fire spokesman John Helmich said Tuesday morning it's not yet certain whether the acreage that has burned in Arizona makes it larger than 2002 Rodeo-Chediski (ched-ih-SKY') fire.

The Chediski began as a signal fire and merged with the Rodeo, which was intentionally set by a firefighter who needed work.

Together they burned 732 square miles, destroyed 491 buildings and cost about $400 million to fight.

The current blaze has destroyed several dozen structures and forced thousands to evacuate from small mountain communities and two larger towns on the forest edge.