PRESCOTT -- A fire burning on Mingus Mountain is 30 percent contained after burning 635 acres.

The lightning-caused Woodchute Fire is burning Ponderosa pine, manzanita and pinyon-juniper strands.

Firefighters working in rugged terrain conducted burnouts along Highway 89-A north of Prescott Monday. The roadway over Mingus Mountain remains closed.

With the completion of the burnouts, firefighters will patrol and mop-up along the highway. They will be looking for any hotspots and preventing the fire from jumping the highway and burning more fuel.

Fire officials say communities around the Woodchute Fire remain accessible to the public.

The town of Jerome north of the fire remains open and active and can be reached by using Highway 260 through Cottonwood and Clarkdale.

With the cooling of the fire along Highway 89-A, lifting of the road closure is possible Wednesday.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

400-acre brush fire closes 10 miles of State Route 89A near Jerome

JEROME -- If you plan on heading to the Prescott and Jerome area, a high closure will force you to take a detour.

Lightning-sparked fire

Brush fire closes 10 miles of State Route 89A - If you plan on heading to the Prescott and Jerome area, a high closure will force you to take a detour.

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The Department of Transportation has closed 10 miles of State Route 89A between Prescott and Jerome because of a brush fire. That closure -- from the summit of Mingus Mountain north to the scenic vista one mile above Jerome -- is expected to remain in place through at least Wednesday.

The Woodchute Fire was sparked by lightning back in July. It has burning about 400 acres since then.

Officials with the Prescott National Forest opted to let it burn through the brush, but the flames moved too close to the highway over the weekend.

"The atmospheric conditions dried out, which allowed the fire to grow," said a fire official on the scene

Travelers should you State Route 69, State Route 169, Interstate 17 and State Route 260 between Prescott and the Jerome-Cottonwood area.

The fire is not threatening the town of Jerome or any buildings. Officials said while the flames themselves are not endangering the road, smoke from the fire is an issue.

Nearly 150 firefighters, engines and a large and a small helicopter are on the scene.


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