East Desert Fire burns over 1,000 acres north of Phoenix

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East Desert Fire firefighters wildfire Arizona Phoenix
Firefighters receive a briefing on the East Desert Fire, May 18, 2020. Photo by Arizona State Forestry.

(UPDATED at 8 p.m. MDT May 19, 2020)

At 6 p.m. Tuesday all evacuations due to the East Desert Fire were lifted.

Firefighters have slowed the spread and the size is holding at 1,492 acres.


(UPDATED at 11:10 a.m. MDT May 18, 2020)

Arizona State Forestry estimated that at 12:01 a.m. May 18 the East Desert Fire north of Phoenix had burned approximately 1,500 acres. After the fire started at about 1 p.m. on Sunday it spread to the east and northeast toward Cahava Springs near the community of Cave Creek. About 130 homes near Cahava Springs were evacuated overnight.

The human-caused fire started near 24th St. and Desert Hills Road in North Phoenix. Hand crews are working to build  fireline around the perimeter while engine crews are providing structure protection for nearby homes threatened by the fire.

Sunday at 8 p.m. the East Desert Fire made a run pushed by strong winds and dry conditions. The fire is burning through dry grasses and brush and other desert vegetation. Additional firefighting resources were ordered Sunday night, including 6 hotshot crews and 10 engines. Aircraft have been requested to be on standby  Monday morning.

map East Desert Fire firefighters wildfire Arizona Phoenix
Map showing heat detected by satellites on the East Desert Fire through 4:12 a.m. MDT May 18, 2020. Locations are approximate.

At 9:43 a.m. an RJ85 air tanker and an air attack ship were seen over the fire.

East Desert Fire Aircraft
At 9:43 a.m. on May 18, 2020 FlightRadar24 tracked two aircraft over the East Desert Fire — an RJ85 Air Tanker and an air attack ship

East Desert Fire north of Phoenix
East Desert Fire north of Phoenix. Photo by Arizona State Forestry, May 17, 2020.

(UPDATED at 11:31 p.m. MDT May 18, 2020)

In an 11 p.m. update on Sunday Arizona State Forestry reported that the East Desert Fire north of Phoenix has grown to approximately 1,000 acres. Additional firefighting resources have been ordered, including 6 hotshot crews and 10 engines. Aircraft have been requested to be on standby for Monday morning.

Despite cooler nighttime weather, strong winds are pushing the fire northeast toward Cahava Springs and Cave Creek. Firefighters will be working Sunday night into Monday morning.


(Originally published at 8:19 p.m. MDT May 17, 2020)

map East Desert Fire north of Phoenix
Map showing the location of the East Desert Fire north of Phoenix at 2:48 p.m. MDT May 17, 2020.

The East Desert Fire has burned 300 to 500 acres near Cave Creek Regional Park north of Phoenix. It was reported Sunday afternoon east of Interstate 17 and north of Carefree Highway.

A report from the Arizona State Forestry at about 8 p.m. said the fire was moving into open desert country away from homes. Approximately five homes are being protected by fire engines. Helicopters and air tankers have been assisting firefighters on the ground.

The fire is three miles northwest of the community of Cave Creek.

East Desert Fire north of Phoenix

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

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