Diamond Fire west of Sunflower grows to over 3,500 acres with 0% containment
SUNFLOWER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - An evacuation order remains in place for the Diamond Fire in the Tonto National Forest, which has grown to over 3,500 acres. It also remains at 0% containment.
On Sunday evening, evacuations were ordered for residents living in the community of Sunflower as crews battled the wildfire near the highway. A Red Cross evacuation center was set up in the old bingo hall at We-Ko-Pa Casino near Fort McDowell Rd and Beeline Highway. However, the center closed to the public Monday morning with officials saying those needing assistance should contact the Red Cross directly.
Later in the day Monday, the Arizona Department of Transportation closed State Route 87 in both directions due to the Diamond Fire. The southbound lanes of State Route 87 were closed at State Route 188, and the northbound side of the highway was closed at milepost 199 of Bush Highway. However, due to progress made on the blaze, crews were able to reopen the highway around 5 a.m. on Wednesday.
Tonto National Forest officials estimated that 10 to 15 residents have been evacuated. As of Thursday morning, the Diamond Fire has burned roughly 3,657 acres and is located about 31 miles northeast of Scottsdale. Ground and air crews are currently working to control the blaze. Forest Service officials say hotshot crews and other firefighters have been scouting for areas to slow the spread of the fire, but rugged terrain and excessive heat are proving to be a challenge.
On Wednesday, crews worked to remove potential fuels along 1333 Road and the Old Beeline Highway. A dust storm and gusty winds later that night pushed the fire north to 344 Road and an area near Alder Creek Springs, but all lines have held around Sunflower. Thursday, crews are expected to work at holding the fire along Highway 87, 344 Road and the Sunflower fuel break.
The fire started around 4 p.m. last Saturday, July 22, and the cause is under investigation.
See a spelling or grammatical error in our story? Please click here to report it.
Do you have a photo or video of a breaking news story? Send it to us here with a brief description.
Copyright 2023 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.