A wildfire that has burned in eastern Arizona for nearly 48 hours has spread across roughly 5,000 acres and continues to force evacuations, fire officials said Saturday.
The San Juan blaze, which was first reported Thursday morning, started about 18 miles east of the city of Show Low and is now threatening at least 90 structures, including homes, according to a statement issued by officials with the the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
Liza Simmons, a public information officer with the U.S. Forest Service, told the Los Angeles Times that the fire leaped over "existing containment areas" on Friday, but no one had been reported injured as of 2 p.m. Saturday.
Officials from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs' Division of Forestry and Wildland Fire Management will host a community meeting to discuss the blaze around 6 p.m. in Vernon, the release said.
Officials said the fire was "human caused" but did not elaborate. Roughly 500 firefighters and rescue personnel have been called to the scene.
Carl Cerniglia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tucson, told the Los Angeles Times that the fire was likely fed by 30- to 35-mph gusts that whipped through the area on Thursday and Friday.
Firefighting conditions are expected to improve Saturday, with gusts topping out around 20 mph. The winds will continue to die down on Monday, and rains may come to the area later in the week, Cerniglia said.
"That's what I'm sure everyone up there is keeping their fingers crossed for -- a nice good thunderstorm to come across the area and drown it out," he said.
Mandatory evacuations were announced for the Red Cabin Ranch subdivision, Whiting Homestead and Carlock Ranch, Simmons said.
Photographs posted to Twitter continued to show massive gray clouds billowing from the mountainside as a line of trees burned underneath.
The fire comes nearly year after the devastating Yarnell Hill fire in central Arizona, which left 19 firefighters dead. Various memorial events are planned in Prescott on Monday, the first anniversary of the firefighters' deaths.
A wildfire burning outside of Canon City, Colo., also jumped to 500 acres on Friday, but a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service told The Times that lower temperatures are expected to help slow the blaze's growth on Saturday.