Gladiator wildfire 50 percent contained; Sunflower Fire grows

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

CROWN KING, Ariz. -- The Gladiator wildfire, burning north of the Valley, is now 50 percent contained.

The blaze, which started from a structure fire on May 13, has burned more than 16,000 acres.

Debbie Maneely, spokeswoman for the Prescott National Forest, said County Road 59 into Crown King opened to the public on Monday.

Visitors are reminded to be cautious, slow-down and drive defensively. Be aware of their surroundings, heavy equipment along roadways, fire equipment and 4-wheelers in the community.

Some smoke may be visible in the community of Crown King and Pine Flat as heavy fuels continue to smolder.

Maneely said firefighters are patrolling the Gladiator Fire's perimeter, looking for any flare-ups or hazardous fuels.

The 350 residents of the community 85 miles north of Phoenix were allowed to return home last week after an initial evacuation.

Meanwhile Monday, the wildfire south of Payson is 43 percent contained after burning nearly 17,700 acres. It began May 12 in the high wilderness area of the Tonto National Forest.

The cause of the Sunflower Fire remains under investigation.