Two wildfires in the same area just north of Phoenix Sunday prompted fire officials to issue cautions about the potential for more wildland fires, after a wet winter left ample fuel that’s now dry.
Crews were dispatched to the first fire, west of I-17 and Table Mesa Road near New River, at about 9:30 on Easter morning. It burned about 1 acre, said Daisy Mountain Fire Department spokesperson Paul Schickel. The second fire, dubbed the “Easter Fire,” started roughly six hours later in the same area and burned 5 to 10 acres, Schickel said. He added that both fires “were in an area of rugged terrain, which made access difficult.”
“Fortunately these were slow moving fires,” said Daisy Mountain Battalion Chief Dave Jensen in an email. “In both incidents, no structures were threatened,” Jensen said, though crews did work to protect a nearby utility infrastructure.
On April 9, crews extinguished a 5-acre fire in the desert near I-17 and west of Anthem.
“We’re anticipating seeing a lot of wildland fires along the I-17 corridor this year,” Jensen said. “We want remind people traveling through the area, and those using the desert for recreation, to be extra careful.”
A statement Sunday evening from the Central Arizona Wildland Response Team explained: “Due to the above average amount of preseason precipitation, specifically in the low elevation Sonoran Desert, there is an above average amount of fine fuels including grass which has begun to cure and is prime for burning.”