Crews battle 3 wildfires burning in Arizona

Crews battle 3 wildfires burning in Arizona

The Bighorn Fire lights up the ridge overlooking Saddlebrooke in the northwestern foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Tucson, Ariz., June 17, 2020.

PHOENIX — Arizona's largest wildfire continued to grow as firefighters ignited backburns to eliminate potential fuel for the fire and protect structures in rural areas in the Tonto National Forest northeast of metro Phoenix.

UPDATES: Bighorn Fire near Tucson, July 3: Here's what we know

Overnight infrared mapping put the Bush Fire's size at 180 square miles as of Wednesday night with containment around 5% of its growing perimeter, fire management team Dee Hines said Thursday.

The fire, which covered 139 square miles as of Wednesday, has forced evacuation of several rural communities in Maricopa and Gila counties and closed parts of three highways.

No structures have been damaged, Hines said.

Major fires also are burning across the state amid hot, windy and dry conditions, including two that also have prompted evacuations of threatened rural communities.

Those two fires were in the Santa Catalina Mountains overlooking Tucson in southern Arizona and in the Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona.

Causes of the fires include lightning and a vehicle fire.

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