PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - After more than tripling in size in a day, the Tussock Fire burning near Crown King presented enough of a danger for forestry officials to issue evacuation orders for three areas Sunday afternoon.
As of Wednesday morning, the fire had burned 5,517 acres. The fire is believed to be human-caused. Right now it is 17% contained. Fire officials hope to have it fully contained by May 22. Nearly 200 extra firefighters and heavy equipment operators arrived Tuesday to help.
Authorities say Crown King is at "SET" level, and residents should prepare to evacuate at a moment's notice.
The shelter set up at Mayer High School, 17300 E. Mule Deer Drive, northeast of Crown King was closed Monday afternoon. Anyone displaced or needing help can call 1-800-842-7349 or 911.
There also are several road closures because of the fire.
"We are announcing the closure of some forest roads in the area of Old Senator highway at the junctions of FR 362 and FR 192 near Crown King. Additionally, the area of Cow Tank road, that leads to FR 711 near Lake Pleasant has been closed to the public," the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said.
The Tussock Fire started Saturday afternoon roughly 20 miles northeast of Wickenburg, less than 10 miles from Crown King. The initial size was estimated to be about 800 acres. By 9:30 p.m. it had grown to 3,500 acres.
Crews are battling the flames, which have now reached the Prescott National Forest, from the air and on the ground. Old Senator Highway is closed near Crown King. Fire officials say due to a lack of moisture, hot, windy conditions, and rugged terrain, a Type 1 Incident Management Team was called in to take command over battling the fire.
U-Haul is offering 30 days of free self-storage to residents impacted by the Tussock Fire. “With evacuation orders in place, people leaving their homes may be seeking storage to protect their personal belongings," said Jim Pena, president of U-Haul Company of Northern Arizona. "We are offering help at our Wickenburg store for anyone in need.”
People seeking more information about the U-Haul disaster relief program or needing to arrange 30 days of free self-storage should contact: U-Haul Moving & Storage of Wickenburg, 2820 Scenic Loop Road, Wickenburg, AZ 85290. You can call (928) 415-4746.
The Tussock Fire is one of three wildfires that broke out Saturday.
The first was the Maverick Fire at around 11 a.m. when the flames started about 2-3 miles west of Highway 87, east of Bartlett Lake. As of 7:15 p.m., the wildfire has burned 1,000 acres primarily because of the terrain and windy conditions, officials said. Firefighters have been mainly doing airdrops because of the rugged terrain but a hotshot crew was flown to the fire Saturday afternoon.
Gila River Fire
There's also been a wildfire spotted in Box Canyon east of Florence. That is called the Gila River Fire and has burned about 150 acres along the Gila River, as of 7:30 p.m.
So far, no injuries have been reported connected to the wildfires. No buildings are being threatened right now. No word yet on how the fires start.