smokey.jpg

The shroud of smoke enveloping the Lower Verde Valley on Saturday morning was the result of the Sears Fire in Tonto National Forest near Cave Creek.

The fire was first discovered around mid-day on Friday, Sept. 25. It had grown to 14,241 acres by late Tuesday.

On Sunday, suppression operations focused on the northeast perimeter of the fire area, south of Humboldt Mountain where the fire is most active.

The Sears Fire is located near Forest Service Road 24 and the Sears Kay Ranch. The fire is burning in grass and brush. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Over the weekend there were 12 engines, four hand crews, one air attack plane, one very large air tanker, two large air tankers, two single engine air tankers and four helicopters assigned to the incident. Additional resources have been ordered and are responding.

An area closure order was implemented Saturday to include Bartlett Dam Road, Seven Springs Road (NFSR 24), Horseshoe Lake, Bartlett Lake and Seven Springs recreation sites. The closure order shall remain in effect until further notice and the signed closure order.

The fire is approximately 20 miles north of Fountain Hills with the eastern boundary of the blaze along the Verde River between Bartlett and Horseshoe lakes.