Kris Kurtenbach wasn’t home this afternoon when her son called to say there was a fire just over the block wall in the backyard, on horse property adjacent to the Arroyo Norte subdivision north of Anthem and just east of I-17. Kurtenbach arrived home to find flames on the property behind her house. A bit of panic struck.
“It was alarming,” she said. “It really was terrifying.”
Her kids weren’t sure what to do, then they started gathering up the pets and planning an escape. “We used a garden hose over the wall to water the dry brush,” Kurtenbach said.
The Kurtenbachs live at the corner of Hudson Trail and Abrams Drive, the very northwestern tip of Arroyo Norte and immediately west of where the fire apparently started. The fire spread north, however, jumping Circle Mountain Road, and heading with the wind into the desert.
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” said Daisy Mountain Fire & Medical spokesperson Brent Fenton, given the number of homes threatened initially, and leading to a significant response by fire crews and other first responders. [See photos below]
The fire was still going shortly before 5 p.m. and had burned an estimated 10 acres, but crews seemed to have it boxed in, Fenton told North Phoenix News. “It sounds like they’ve got a pretty good handle on it,” he said at 5:20 p.m.
One witness at the scene said a transformer on or near the horse property may have blown, possibly causing the fire. Fenton said that may have been the cause, but officials are not sure yet. However, there was a momentary power outage in the area, including parts of Anthem, at about the time the fire started.
As the fire spread north around 4 p.m., one man who’d been on the property where the fire started sat on the curb, complaining of smoke inhalation and waiting for a medical crew to arrive. The man had been saving horses on the property, a witness said. Three horses could be seen circling inside the property, apparently unharmed.
Fenton said there were no other injuries.
Northbound traffic on the frontage road out of Anthem was closed during the fire. More than a dozen fire trucks and other first-responder vehicles were on scene, including DMFM, the Glendale Fire Department, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. Several crews were out in the desert, including at what looked to be the fire’s northern perimeter.
Kurtenbach said she’s long worried about all the dry brush and the potential for a fire. And now, given how unprepared her family was when it happened, she said: “It’d be a good idea to have a plan.”
Good idea. The fire comes on the heels of several other small brush fires in the area, including:
- Three near I-17 and Table Mesa Road on June 22, May 26 and May 18
- One in the New River wash May 22
- One in Anthem May 5
Update 8:25 p.m.: DMFM responded to yet another brush fire this evening, near Desert Hills Drive and 12th Street, just southeast of Anthem.