Brush Fire Burns 500 Acres Northeast of New River

The Central Fire northeast of New River, in Tonto National Forest, on July 20, 2019. Photo: AZ State Forestry Department

UPDATED MONDAY, JULY 22, 7:50 a.m. — A fire burning east-northeast of New River Saturday afternoon sent up a plume of smoke visible from I-17 in North Phoenix, Anthem, New River and Desert Hills.

The Central Fire, as it was named, originated within Tonto National Forest about 3 miles east-northeast of New River, the Arizona State Forestry Department said. The fire had burned 503 acres by Sunday afternoon and was 80 percent contained, according to the AZ State Forestry Department.

During Saturday afternoon, the fire had been moving north, “away from structures, and burning through grasses and brush,” the forestry department said. Three air tankers could be seen circling on Saturday, waiting their turns, then following guide planes in to drop their fire retardant as people parked along New River Road to watch. Ground crews were on scene as well. Crews from Daisy Mountain Fire and MCSO were staged at the intersection of Fig Springs Road and New River Road, due west of the fire. [More photos below.]

Flames were visible during a brief flare-up at about 4:30 p.m., seen here looking northeast from near the corner of New River Road and Circle Mountain Road. Photos by Robert Roy Britt
An air tanker dropped fire retardant near the Central Fire’s southern perimeter at around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20.
One of multiple air tankers going in for a fire-retardant drop at about 4 p.m. Photos by Robert Roy Britt
An air tanker just after a drop, which was not visible behind the low hills between New River Road and the fire.
Smoke from the Central Fire at about 3:50 p.m. seen from New River Road, just northwest of Daisy Mountain.
A mid-afternoon view from Anthem looking northeast, with smoke from the Central Fire behind Daisy Mountain.

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Robert Roy Britt
NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.
Robert Roy Britt on Email

Robert Roy Britt

NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.

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