As of April 30th, the Sawmill Fire was estimated to be 46,991 acres.
This puts the Sawmill Fire as the 14th biggest wildfire in Arizona state history, according to Southwest Coordination Center‘s records dating back to 1990. Accounting for wildfires only in Southern Arizona, the Sawmill Fire is the 5th largest on record, eclipsing the Ryan Fire (38,000 acres) back in 2002.
The Sawmill Fire is the largest fire in Southern Arizona since 2014, when the Skunk Fire torched over 73,000 acres on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.
Driving the Sawmill Fire’s massive footprint is two factors: persistent winds at or above 20 MPH & abnormally dry fuels. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows the fire is burning in an area under moderate drought. Places south & southeast of Metro Tucson only received 25-50% of its Winter rainfall, according to the National Weather Service.
Dating back to October, much of Southern Arizona has picked up between 25-70% of its typical rainfall.