UPDATE 11:13 p.m.: “The backups both north and southbound on I-17 are gone,”ADOT said at about 9 p.m.
The story below remains as earlier updated:
UPDATED 7:14 p.m. — A small brush fire closed I-17 northbound at the Sunset Point Rest Area Sunday evening, and only one lane of southbound traffic was getting by, causing a backup several miles long for travelers heading back to the Valley from the high country. In addition, a crash contributed to the problem.
The southbound lanes had been completely closed for a while. The backup was still 10 miles long as of 7 p.m., ADOT said. The northbound backup was 4 miles long.
“I-17 Northbound is closed for a brush fire, but crash is also causing delays at Sunset Point. A helicopter is landing for the crash now,” ADOT said just before 6 p.m. “Delays in both directions are expected to be long and drivers should consider delaying travel or using alternate routes.” [See Map Below]
Northbound traffic is being turned around at Sunset Point, ADOT said at about 6:20 p.m.
The brush fire is separate and unrelated to the 35,000-acre Brooklyn Fire (which is a few miles east of Sunset Point). The new brush fire was small, about 3 acres, said Frank Mosbacher, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management. Two fire engines were on the scene.
“It has a low rate of spread,” Mosbacher told North Phoenix News at about 6 p.m. “Things are looking pretty good” in terms of gaining control of the fire, he said.
At roughly 7 p.m., Daisy Mountain Fire Department tweeted: “Our crews are just finishing up a brushfire on NB I-17 at MP 254 just north of Sunset Point.”
ADOT provides real-time traffic updates at www.az511.gov or you can call 511.
This story will be updated as more information is available.