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A lightning strike associated with thunderstorms in the area late Saturday started a wildfire in the Tonto National Forest near Rio Verde and Fort McDowell.

As of Tuesday morning the fire had burned approximately 2,000 acres in the Mazatzal foothills east of the Verde River near Black Mesa.

According to Tonto National Forest officials the fire is approximately two miles northeast of Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation lands and four miles east of the Verde communities.

According to Rio Verde Fire District Chief Jay Ducote firefighters with Tonto National Forest had the fire boxed in on Monday, but gusty winds that kicked up in the afternoon gave new life to the fire and it began moving south.

Ducote said the Verde Communities are well protected by the Verde River acting as a fire break, as well as FireWise actions to reduce fuel around the edges of the communities.