Photos: Largest of three Tonto wildfires grows to 2,000 acres

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz. -- Wildland firefighters are battling three wildfires northeast of the Valley on the Tonto National Forest.


The largest fire is the Sunflower Fire. It's 21 miles south of Payson and west of Highway 87.

The fire is moving away from the homes in Sunflower but some people in the area are evacuating voluntarily. The fire is about one mile away from the homes.

According to officials with the National Forest Service, the fire has burned more than 2,000 acres. The cause is under investigation.

There are five Hotshot crews, 1 Type 2 I-A crew, six engines, four air tankers, and two helicopters working the fire.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the operation.

There is no containment of the Sunflower Fire.

Smoke from the fire is visible from the Valley.


The Bull Flat Fire started on May 10. It's burning in a remote area on the Tonto National Forest and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

There are more than 100 people working the fire which has burned more than 400 acres.

There are also two helicopters assisting with the effort.

The fire is believed to be caused by lightning but is still under investigation.

It is five-percent contained. There are no properties in immediate danger.

The west side of the fire in the Tonto National Forest was burning actively on Saturday morning but slowed down by mid-afternoon.

There were two hot spots on the east and west region of the fire.

Air tankers worked all morning to mitigate fire activity, they are now on hold. Hotshot crews are building a direct hand-line and 2 light helicopters are doing bucket drops. Engines continue to assist with mop up and holding the line. Firefighters are making progress.

Smoke may be visible from the Mogollon Rim.


The Four Peaks Fire started Friday afternoon. It burned about 50 acres at the base of the Four Peaks Mountain and is said to be under control.

There were two Hotshot crews and two air tankers working that fire.

It started late in the day as temperatures were dropping and crews were able to keep it from getting out of control.

That fire is still under investigation.