- Posted May 16, 2012 by
Team iReport featured this story
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Wildfires blazing near you
Arizona Wildfires: The Sunflower wildfire burns on.
- Echerneff, CNN iReport producer
After a record breaking amount of wildfires in 2011 it seems 2012 is going to be a scorcher as well.
In 2011 the largest wildfire in its state recorded history happened in Arizona. Unintentionally set by two campers in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest of eastern Arizona, the Wallow Wildfire burned 538,049 acres, surpassing the 468,000 acres destroyed in the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire. The blaze required over 4,000 dedicated firefighters to put out with thousands of people having to evacuate their homes and personal belongings while the fire raged out of control for over a month.
Arizona has four separate wildfires burning more than 15,000 acres currently. The largest is the Sunflower wildfire ripping through 12,000 acres in the Tonto National Forest just 20 miles south of the town of Payson. As of Wednesday morning there were 12 crews, 16 engines, two bulldozers and two water tenders being used to fight the Sunflower wildfirefire. In all, more than 400 people have been called upon to fight the blaze.
My friend and I raced up to see the Sunflower wildfire last night. On the way up we immediately noticed the huge plumes of smoke over 50 miles away. This wildfire is burning really hot, we saw over 12 separate open flames in the same mountain range. We headed up Mt. Ord just east of the wildfire over the Beeline highway to Payson. We figured the best way to get some quality images would be to go with the birds-eye-view. Once up on our perch we knew right away this wildfire is not going away anytime soon. Flames were ripping through pine trees and juniper up the mountainside in many different locations within the range. We witnessed a continuous stream of fire personal running up the old mining roads, all night, to get to the flames. Forecast calls for more heat and wind today. Not good conditions to battle a wildfire.