Growing wildfire near Patagonia forces evacuations | Local news


Santa Cruz County authorities are ordering evacuations Sunday after a wildfire that started near Patagonia spread to 10,000 acres in less than 24 hours.

The San Rafael Fire began Saturday night about 22 miles southeast of Patagonia and quickly spread northeast through heavy grass. Red-flag conditions Sunday saw wind gusts up to 45 mph.

The wind-driven fire is zero percent contained, according to state fire officials.

Santa Cruz County authorities were ordering residents in the San Rafael Valley and residences on Canelo Pass Road and Canelo Pass to evacuate on Sunday.

Multiple hand crews and fire engines are engaged in fire suppression efforts. Aircraft, to include, single-engine air tankers, very large air tankers, a large air tanker and helicopters, are also assigned to the blaze.

At noon Sunday, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management transitioned the fire to the Southeast Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team.

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Progress of the San Rafael Fire, as of Monday, May 9, 2022

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Arizona Department of Transportation closed Arizona 83 northbound at the Cochise-Santa Cruz County line at milepost 10. For updated traffic information, dial 511.

The American Red Cross has established an evacuation center at the United Methodist Patagonia Community Church, 387 McKeown Ave., Patagonia, for those affected by the San Rafael Fire.