Residents of the Alpine area of eastern Arizona have been ordered to evacuate by 8 tonight as the Wallow Fire advances.
Evacuees are asked to go to Blue Ridge High School in Pinetop-Lakeside, or to call and register with the Wallow Fire Joint Information Center if they go to a different location. Call 928-333-3412 to register.
The evacuation route is: Take U.S. Highway 180 north to Springerville, then U.S. Highway 60 west to Show Low, then State Route 260 east to Pinetop-Lakeside. Do not take State Route 260 west to Pinetop-Lakeside, officials urge.
The northern evacuation route for residents of Blue is blocked. Residents of Blue should plan to take Forest Road 232 (Pueblo Park Road) into New Mexico.
An American Red Cross shelter has been established at
Blue Ridge High School, 1200 West White Mountain Boulevard.
All evacuees are required to check in with Red Cross personnel after arrival. The shelter that has been established is a no-pet shelter.
For more information call: 928-333-3412 or call 593 from a landline or Cellular One cell phone.
The Wallow Fire, which broke out Sunday in the kiln-dry big timber of the Bear Wallow Wilderness Area, grew to 40,059 acres by Wednesday night.
Southwest winds are pushing it in the direction of Alpine, 13 miles from the fire’s origin.
A community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. tonight at the Alpine Community Center.
Also, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest has closed down more of the forest as the Wallow Fire continues to expand.
The new closures include Big Lake Recreation Area, Gabaldon Campground, the Mount Baldy Wilderness and all trails within it.
Pushed by high wind and low humidity, the fire is burning through thick stands of Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for critical fire weather until 8 p.m.
About 600 firefighters are on hand to battle the fire.
Several enclaves of homes have been evacuated and the Hannagan Meadow Lodge is being fortified to withstand the fire.