PHOENIX — A top-tier management team on Friday assumed command of firefighters battling Arizona’s largest current wildfire, which continued to grow in east-central Arizona as crews worked to protect previously evacuated rural communities.
The multiagency team was assigned to the Bush Fire in the Tonto National Forest northeast of metro Phoenix because of the fire’s complexity and because the team has more specialized and experienced personnel than the managers that were overseeing the effort, team spokesman Dee Hines said.
The fire’s size was estimated at 236 square miles (611 square kilometers) with containment around 7% of its perimeter as of Friday morning, up from 180 square miles (466 square kilometers) as of Thursday morning.
More than 850 firefighters and other personnel backed up by helicopters, bulldozers and fire engines were assigned to the so-called Bush Fire, which was started June 13 by a vehicle fire.
Firefighters planned Friday to work to protect structures in the small community of Sunflower and near other evacuated communities, fire managers said in a statement.