10 Worst Wildfires in Modern Arizona History

Categories: List This
yarnell-wife.jpg
Juliann Ashcraft via breakingnews.com
A photo firefighter Andrew Ashcraft sent to his wife before Ashcroft and 18 of his colleagues died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire this weekend.
The Yarnell Hill Fire burning southwest of Prescott is, by far, the deadliest wildfire in the history of Arizona.

While a few wildfires in Arizona's history are marked by tragedy, others will be remembered more for their quirks -- like the Sunflower Fire last year, started by a guy shooting off a novelty shotgun shell during a bachelor party. Check out our list of the 10 worst wildfires in modern Arizona history:

10.) Warm Fire

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Toll: 59,000 acres

On June 8th, 2006, lightning struck the Kaibab Pleateu in northern Arizona. The Forest Service let it burn as a managed fire to shape the area, with their first large-scale "Wildland Fire Use" plan. That plan was scrapped about two weeks later, when the fire developed into a full-blown wildfire.

9.) Lone Fire

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Toll: 61,000 acres

In 1996, near the Four Peaks Wilderness, two campers left a campfire smoldering. Eleven days and 61,000 acres later, Arizona had its largest wildfire in at least 25 years (hence our list of wildfires in modern Arizona history). While reporters for both the Associated Press and the Arizona Republic called it the largest fire in 25 years in reports at the time, neither mentioned a single detail about the fire that occurred 25 years prior. The Forest Service says it was the largest in the state's history at the time.

8.) Aspen Fire

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Toll: 84,750 acres, 340 buildings

This fire burned for a month in 2003, in and around the small community of Summerhaven, near the top of Mt. Lemmon in Tucson. Dozens of homes and businesses were ruined by the fire. Even during our most recent visit, about a month ago, we noted that the fire damage was still evident, with dozens of burned trees lined up behind newer cabin-homes.

7.) Willow Fire

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Toll: 119,500 acres

The 2004 Willow Fire (not to be confused with the Wallow Fire), which was caused by lightning, was a near-disaster, as it came within two miles of Payson, before being contained and extinguished.


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4 comments
Tex Virnig
Tex Virnig

Really? Once again the media shows it's true colors. At least I'm not surprised.

Kathy Jenkins
Kathy Jenkins

I can not believe that you would have even allowed the article on Brendan McDonough to run! Who the heck cares about his criminal past? I for one don't! The thing I care about is 19 of this HERO'S team members passed fighting a fire to save others property. Y'all at Phoenix Times need your heads checked. I can not believe this made it past the editors desk. Shame on you.

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

Jesus, all in the last 22 years...

Then I move to Utah, and I've decided that our seasons here will now be winter, spring, fire and fall. Still not as bad as you guys, though.

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