SAN CARLOS, ARIZONA (3TV/CBS 5) - There’s no doubt firefighters are desperately trying to get water on the growing Telegraph Fire that’s now merged with the Mezcal Fire. But firefighters told state officials at the Capitol Wednesday there’s not even enough water in some of our lakes to get the job done.

San Carlos Lake

According to Google Maps, there should be water in this part of the lake.

As flames continue to plague Arizona, so does extreme drought. And with these dangerous firefights, crews absolutely need access to water. “This year, it’s become a lot more limited on availability as some of the ponds are drying up,” said John Truett, a state fire management officer.

Truett spoke at the state Capitol Wednesday and told officials the San Carlos Lake is so low, they can’t even scoop water out of it for airdrops or they’d leave the lake completely dry.

Arizona’s Family went up to the lake Wednesday and couldn’t see any water at all from the recreation area. To put that into perspective, according to our Arizona’s Weather Authority numbers, Tempe Town Lake has 58 times more water right now than the San Carlos Reservoir. “I was there with some long-term residents and they said it’s the lowest they’ve ever seen it. They’re putting it as a historic low,” Truett said.

Data shows the lake can hold a capacity of 19,500 acre-feet, but right now, it’s at just 50 acre-feet. A water data graph shows how fast the decline was in less than a year from July 2020 to May 2021.

Truett said while they can pull water from bigger lakes, they take longer to get to, and every second counts when it comes to stopping the fast-moving flames. “If it’s a long turnaround, the fire just keeps spreading and it isn’t adequate enough to keep a line of water on there to put the fire out,” he said.

Helicopter battling wildfire

Firefighters say the San Carlos Lake is so low, they can’t even scoop water out of it for airdrops or they’d leave the lake completely dry.

Truett and his crews are hoping for a monsoon rain soon, but the reality is the next four to five weeks are critical with extreme heat and Arizona lake levels that continue to dry up by the day.


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