Bush Fire

The human-caused Bush Fire started near Highway 87 and Bush Highway on June 13. Smoke from the fire is visible in Payson. Officials recommend those with respiratory conditions stay indoors.

As of 9 a.m. Monday, Highway 87 is closed south of the Mazatzal Casino because of the Bush Fire.

The fire is burning in the Four Peaks area and has grown to more than 14,000 acres and is 0% contained.

Due to the fire’s growth and movement, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office is evacuating the communities of Punkin Center and Tonto Basin.

Previously, SR 87 had been closed from the Bush Highway to State Route 188. This new closure extends the closure from SR 188 to near Payson, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Additionally, SR 188 is now closed between State Route 87 (milepost 244) and State Route 88 (milepost 276).

There are no estimated times for reopening. These are expected to be lengthy closures.

Motorists are asked to consider delaying travel or to use alternate routes. The detour through Globe is no longer viable. The best alternative is State Route 260 to Interstate 17.

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511 and through ADOT’s Twitter feed,@ArizonaDOT.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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