UPDATED 6:15 p.m. — At last count, three brush fires had started Friday afternoon along I-17 from Table Mesa Road north to Black Canyon City, affecting southbound traffic. The fires were largely under control by early evening, according to the Bureau of Land Management. After a miles-long backup, traffic was flowing normally again by 6 p.m.
“Currently 15 engines (8 T1, T3, 6 T6) 4 tenders, 8 overhead assigned,” the Central Arizona Wildland Response Team (CAWRT) said mid-afternoon. Fire crews from Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Daisy Mountain and others were battling the blazes.
At about 4:40 p.m. ADOT said southbound lanes were backed up 6 miles. “Traffic is now flowing normally on Interstate 17 southbound past Black Canyon City, the agency said at 6 p.m.
“Most [of the fires] are contained and forward progression stopped.” the Bureau of Land Management said a little after 5 p.m. There was an additional fire in the area last night, according to the BLM. At about 2 acres, it was larger than today’s fires, BLM said.
While no cause has been announced, BLM reminded people not to let chains drag behind vehicles—a common cause of roadside brush fires.
Daisy Mountain Fire & Medical had responded to 29 brush fires this year before yesterday. Last year the agency tackled 47 brush fires last year. The entire state is bone dry, with 97 percent in severe drought.
ADOT’s view of the traffic at around 4 p.m.: