Verde Fire, fully contained after burning 2,700 acres
By TARA ALATORRE
SCOTTSDALE – The Verde Fire was declared 100 percent contained by forest officials on August 12, after burning approximately 2,735 acres of Sonoran Desert on the east side of the Verde River, about two miles northeast of Fort McDowell Reservation.
“Community members may notice ash being blown around within the burned area, which resembles smoke,” stated wildland firefighters in an update on August 8. “This occurs due to high winds from heat on the desert floor. This type of disturbance may continue to occur until a significant amount of moisture is received and ash settles.”
Officials say the fire was caused by lightning on August 3, after thunderstorms passed through a remote area with limited road access for fire crews about four miles east of the community of Rio Verde. Strong winds along with plentiful fuel, which consisted of dried grasses and shrubs, caused the fire perimeter to grow.
“Monsoon storms developed over the area yesterday [August 5], allowing the fire to grow approximately 700 acres overnight. Smoke and flames were visible to nearby residents because of the storm activity,” the Tonto National Forest Service said.
The Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team assumed command of the Verde Fire on August 6. Airtankers were used to keep the fire from moving west and helicopters doused hot spots where needed, according to the forest service.
By August 7, the fire remained zero percent uncontained and crews were shuttled in from Geronimo Hotshots and the Pima Type 2 Initial Attack Crew, plus three engines and one helicopter. At one point over 100 personnel were assigned to the fire and by August 8, it was 69 percent contained, according to reports.
“The Tonto National Forest thanks the Central West Zone Type 3 Incident Management Team for all their hard work protecting the communities of Rio Verde, Vista Verde and Fort McDowell,” the Tonto Forest stated in a fire update.
The incident management team transitioned command of the Verde Fire back to the Tonto Forest on August 8.
For more information call the Fire Information Line at 480-595-3380 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For closures or other information call the Tonto National Forest Cave Creek Ranger District at 480-595-3300.