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Wildfire burning in Arizona national forest now more than 7,000 acres

Posted at 11:32 AM, Jun 08, 2019

MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — More than 200 firefighters are working to contain the Mountain Fire in Arizona, which ignited on Tonto National Forest land northeast of the Valley Friday and quickly covered thousands of acres.

According to the forest service, the fire has grown to an estimated 7,225 acres. Officials said the fire was zero percent contained as of 6 a.m. Saturday, but said no structures were threatened.

According to a tweet issued by Tonto National Forest, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is now assisting with mandatory evacuations of Bartlett Lake users and campers, all of whom had the option to voluntarily evacuate on Friday when the fire ignited.

Video from KNXV showed several planes and at least one helicopter dropping retardant and water to try and slow the progress of the fire, which was burning between Horseshoe and Bartlett lakes.

The Tonto National Forest said the fire was human-caused. Bartlett Dam Road is closed at Cave Creek Road and will remain closed through the remainder of the weekend.

The fire continues to burn north and northeast toward Bartlett Lake.

All day-use areas and campgrounds near Horseshoe and Bartlett lakes are closed to allow firefighters to focus on the fire, officials said. Those who were in the area were allowed to leave and escorted to Cave Creek Road, but MCSO is now requiring campers to evacuate the area.

As winds die down, officials said smoke from the fire is expected to settle into the many valleys and washes in and around the national forest. The smell of smoke for those living near the Tonto National Forest boundary is normal overnight airflow and not a reason for alarm.