Burning luggage sparks Sycamore brush north of Fountain Hills

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By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers
By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers
By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers
By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers
By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. -- Firefighters have almost contained a brush fire north of Fountain Hills, and the Beeline Highway, which had been closed Thursday afternoon and evening, is now open.

The Sycamore fire, which has burned about 200 acres, was sparked by some luggage on the roof-rack of a car in the Mesquite Wash area Thursday afternoon.

"As [the driver] was removing the items that were on fire, it's been reported that he burned his arm and some of the objects fell on the side of the road," said Eric Lamb of the Department of Public Safety. "The tinder on the side of the road caught on fire."

The man, whose name has not been released, left the scene because he didn't have cell coverage there. As soon as he got a signal, he called to report the fire.

High winds and rugged terrain meant fire crews had their hands full.

While no structures were threatened, Highway 87 was closed in both directions between mile markers 199 and 208 (south of Sunflower) for several hours because of smoke in the area. It has since reopened, although there were still some restrictions southbound. The right southbound lane is blocked.

The fire was 70 percent contained by Thursday night.

No injuries were reported.

ORIGINAL STORY: Sycamore brush fire breaks out north of Fountain Hills

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. - Crews responded to the Sycamore brush fire on State Route 87 just south of Sunflower on Thursday afternoon.

SR 87 was closed northbound at Bush Highway and southbound at SR 188, but has since re-opened.

The fire started at about five acres, but quickly grew to 30-40 acres.

The source of the fire appears to be a car where some luggage caught fire and after falling off the car spread to the brush.

A couple of air tankers were called in to assist with the firefight.

The driver of the car is cooperating with the investigation.