MAYER, Ariz. (KSAZ) - The Goodwin Fire started over the weekend with whipping winds and dry conditions fueling the flames.
On Tuesday night, the fire increased in size. Earlier in the day, the fire had burned about 4,400 acres. On Thursday morning, it grew to 24,828 acres and is only one percent contained.
Prescott National Forest officials say over a dozen campgrounds and other recreation areas have been closed because of a wildfire in Arizona. They are canceling reservations for the next two weeks and freezing any new ones. The cancelations will force campers who hoped to spend Fourth of July weekend in the area to make other plans.
Hundreds of firefighters are battling the flames from the ground and air. They say they're working in very volatile conditions -- the fire has been erratic and difficult to fight.
An official we spoke to stated the fire is burning in thick brush and shrubs that haven't burned for 40 to 50 years. He described the conditions as quite explosive.
Officials say the evacuation for the town of Mayer, which has a population of about 1,400, will be lifted on Thursday morning. Officials say structures have been lost, but due to the erratic and dangerous fire behavior, they weren't able to specify where those buildings were located.
Many evacuees we spoke to say they are holding out hope that everything is okay.
"So the firefighters came and told us we had to leave and we did evacuate and we went down the road about a mile and watched for a while.. the road was closed, so no one could get in and out of Highway 69," said Debbe Shademann, a Mayer resident. "There was nothing we could do, but it did cross the road.. it did cross onto our side of the highway, so I know our property is in peril at this point.. and it's the worst feeling in my life, I've been through a lot and never have I ever been this devastated to know that my home may not be there when I get back."
A lot of these evacuees have the same question: When can I go home? Officials say it's just a wait and see. This fire is still raging.
The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Bradshaw Mountain High School at 6000 E. Long Look Drive in Prescott Valley. They have room for 300 people.
Evacuations issued: Walker, Chauncey Ranch Road, Mountain Pine Acres, Potato Patch, Upper Blue Hills, Mount Union, Poland Junction, Chapparral Hills, Breezy Pines, Pine Flats, Dewey west of Highway 69.
State Route 69 is closed in both directions north of Interstate 17 due to smoke from the wildfire.
The cause of fire is under investigation.
Goodwin Fire Public Meeting
Thursday, June 29, 6:00pm
Life Pointe Church
10100 AZ Highway 69
Prescott Valley, AZ
Goodwin Fire UPDATES:
Yavapai County Emergency Operation Center: 928-442-5103 or www.facebook.com/YCOEM
APS 24 hour customer care center: 602-371-7171 or www.aps.com/outages
Prescott National Forest updates:
Incident Information System: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5278
The Associated Press contributed to this report.