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Arizona governor issues declarations of emergency in response to wildfires

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has issued Declarations of Emergency in response to two wildfires that have burned more than 146,000 acres in his state, he announced Wednesday. The declarations will provide up to $400,000 for response efforts.

"The Declarations of Emergency and Federal Grants will help make sure responders have the necessary resources for response and recovery — protecting people, pets & property," Ducey tweeted. "We will continue to work closely with local officials to ensure the needs of those communities are met."

The Telegraph Fire was first reported Friday afternoon and was estimated to be over 80,000 acres in size as of midday Wednesday, according to incident information management system InciWeb. The fire was 21% contained and more than 750 personnel were responding to it.

The cause of the "fast moving" and "dynamic fire" near the southern border of Tonto National Forest is still under investigation.

Residents in the Top-of-the-World area were instructed Sunday to "evacuate immediately" by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. "Numerous evacuation status alerts" have been issued in nearby areas in response to the "extreme fire activity" as well.

The Red Cross of Arizona has set up evacuation centers and large animal sheltering has also been made available, the sheriff's office said. Telegraph Fire Information advised residents in surrounding areas to "remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate."

The second active wildfire, called the Mescal Fire, was reported last Monday and was an estimated 70,066 acres in the Mescal Mountains as of Wednesday, according to Inciweb. The 610 responders have made "significant progress" on containing the fire by using methods like aerial water drops.

"Firefighters have been successful in reducing the fire threat to important infrastructure, resources and communities," the incident overview stated. "Fire potential continues to exist."

Certain highways in the area have begun to reopen and all residents in San Carlos have been directed to return home. Other areas like East El Capitan remain under evacuation. The cause of the Mescal Fire is also still under investigation.

"Arizonans must take the threat of wildfires seriously and follow all safety precautions during these dry months, including following evacuation orders," Ducey stated. "I'm grateful to our brave firefighters and everyone working to protect Arizonans this wildfire season." 

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