NEW RIVER MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Fire crews are working to contain a wildfire north of Phoenix.

Lightning is to blame for the River Fire on the New River Mesa, officials have said.

[WATCH FIRST REPORT: Aerial views of lightning-caused fire on New River Mesa]

The flames have burned 7,772 acres and there is 35% containment, firefighters said on Saturday.

The fire is burning mostly grass on the plateau but is burning away from communities and buildings.

The flames can be seen from parts of north Phoenix.

New River Mesa ranges in altitude from about 4,000 to 4,700 feet. It's due north of Cave Creek.

Fire officials say fire activity has increased in the past couple of days due to high heat and winds. 

Fire crews worked through the night, conducting burnout operations ahead of the fire and successfully held the fire between Forest Road 41 and Forest Road 17.

Airtankers were used to support burnout operations and helicopters were also utilized to extinguish hot spots along the fire’s edge.

Though no containment has been reported thus far, many areas on the fire perimeter have not been active for a few days and are unlikely to spread further.

Due to remote and inaccessible terrain, it is difficult to insert firefighters on the ground to confirm containment in these areas. Firefighters will continue to monitor all areas of the fire from the ground and the air.

In order to provide for firefighter and public safety, Forest Road 41 (“Table Mountain Road”) has been closed from the Tonto National Forest Boundary on the west to the junction with Forest Road 24 (Seven Springs).

Additional closures in the area may be required as the fire progresses.

The southern and western areas of the fire remained mostly quiet and firefighters continue to monitor these areas closely.

Preventing fire movement off of New River Mesa to the west, south and southeast remain a top priority.

 


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