A roaring wildfire in Arizona has scorched nearly 500 square miles, making it the second-largest wildfire in the state's history. The Arizona wildfire broke out in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Greenlee County on the afternoon of May 29. Critical factors that determine the end result of a wildfire include fuel, weather and terrain, according to the U.S. Weather conditions that can keep a wildfire blazing include the current low humidity and drought conditions in the Southwest, which have hampered efforts to snuff the flames.
Winds can also spread a wildfire by helping the flames to jump between trees and other areas.
Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Wildfires can strike nearly anywhere in the United States, but western states are most prone to wildfires.
The Rodeo-Chediski fire in eastern Arizona burned nearly 733 square miles (469,000 acres) in 2002.

SPRINGERVILLE, AZ - The Wallow Fire has hit over 469,000 acres in eastern Arizona Tuesday and is now the largest wildfire in our state's recorded history.
Although the blaze is now 18 percent contained, the massive burn is now the largest in Arizona state history, thanks to weather conditions that provided the ideal elements to whip up a devastating fire. And eastern Arizona is chock-full of acre upon acre of extremely dry trees, the ingredient that will keep a fire burning big and hot. Though they are in many ways caused by weather, large wildfires can also create weather of their own. In fact, Lamoni said, these strange, wildfire-produced storm clouds, called pyrocumulus, are dangerous. Wildfires continue to burn in several other states around the country, from Texas to Alaska to Georgia. A massive wildfire tragically took the lives of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill area of Arizona on Sunday. The firefighter moved to Prescott Arizona two years ago and lived with his wife and high school sweetheart, Roxanne, who was a fellow Marine.

Granite Mountain Hotshots: Top 10 Facts You Need to KnowAll nineteen firefighters killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire were members of the Prescott-based Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite team of wildfire specialists. In the United States, lightning is a major cause of wildfires, and it has not been ruled out as a cause for the blazes in Arizona.
Just last week, Warneke had just returned form a wildfire in New Mexico before he was called to combat the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona.
Western states have an extremely long dry season (May to January) that provides ample fuel for wildfires.

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