NASA satellite images show the Wallow Fire currently has consumed nearly 389,000 acres of Arizona’s Apache National Forest and may beat the state’s largest fire on record, 2002's Rodeo-Chediski blaze, which burned 468,638 acres.

Fire Chief Max Sadler’s firefighters are fending off the Wallow Fire in Springerville, Ariz., a town with population of less than 2,000 located within Apache County. Sadler said as of midday June 9, one fire department unit was left to protect the town, while two units are deployed to assist with burnout operations. However, winds are down from 25 mph today versus 35 to 40 yesterday.

Radio communications haven’t been affected by the fire, although last week they lost cell communications when the Alpine fire engulfed a Verizon tower, Sadler said. As far as direct fire line tactical communications, analog and digital communications performed as expected.

“You always have problems [with communications],” he admitted. “But they seem to be working fine.”

Springerville and the neighboring Eagar towns currently are secure, Sadler said. He attributes it to trained firefighters who are well-versed in fire suppression and radio communications as well as being strong enough to face the rigors of firefighting.

“Working with these groups of responders and departments is just a blessing,” Sadler said.

The Wallow Fire allegedly started because of an uncontained camp fire on May 29.