All hiking trails back open after brush fire in McDowell Mountains

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hiking trails in the McDowell Mountains reopened Wednesday morning after a large brush fire scorched part of the mountainside.

The Patriot fire started at about 12:30 Tuesday afternoon near Alma School and Happy Valley roads. It was sparked by some construction in the area. The fire quickly grew to about 200 acres, forcing firefighters to close all of the hiking and biking trails. About 80 of those acres were part of the Scottsdale Sonoran Preserve.

Crews from both the Scottsdale and Phoenix fire departments, as well as the Bureau of Land Management, were called in to handle the fire.

Flames threatened one home for a time, but the wind blew the fire in another direction, up the mountain.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire, but some crews stayed on the scene overnight to make sure things didn't blow back up.

"We didn't see many hot spots overnight," said Scott Collins of the Scottsdale Fire Department. "We're going to have patrols coming in and out throughout the day just to double check and  to make sure nothing flares up."

All of the trails, with the exception of the one up by Tom's Thumb, reopened at sunrise. Crews want to double check that trail to make sure there are no embers that could cause a problem. An unofficial trail behind the Village Health Club also remained closed because of fire danger.

Both of those last trails were declared safe and opened at 9 a.m.

The Scottsdale Fire department is urging residents and businesses to take some basic precautions to help keep their homes safe as fire season heats up.

• Create a 30-foot fire safety zone around your home and other structures. This zone should be an area free of dried or dead grass and vegetation.

• Trim your trees and remove any dead branches or leaves.

• Keep your gutters, eaves and roof clear of leaves and other debris.

• Keep a rolled up garden hose with a nozzle attached to outside hose valve connections.

• Properly dispose of cigarettes.

• When camping, follow local agency rules for campfires. Do not build a fire without making sure open fires are allowed, and always follow fire safety information.

• Add a spark arrester to off-road vehicles and other small internal combustion engines such as generators.

• For current fire restrictions go to www.azstatefire.org or call 1-877-864-6985.

ORIGINAL STORY: Neighbors worried about brush fire in McDowell Mountains

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Fire crews are working a brush fire near the McDowell Mountains.

The Patriot fire burning near Alma School and Happy Valley roads was estimated to be 200 acres Tuesday afternoon.

No homes or structures have been lost and none are threatened at this time, according to Tiffani Nichols, spokeswoman for the Scottsdale Fire Department.

Nichols said approximately 75 firefighters from Scottsdale, the Bureau of Land Management and State Fire are on scene. Air tankers and helicopters are being used to drop water and retardant on the fire, which is moving into the McDowell Mountains.

Trails in the McDowell Mountain Preserve have been temporarily closed as a precaution.

A crew working on a cell phone tower might have accidentally started the fire.