A small brush fire south of Payson Thursday morning slowed traffic for about an hour as firefighters from the Payson Fire Department battled the roadside blaze.
The fire, just off the west shoulder of the Beeline Highway's southbound lane, scorched about 10,000 square feet of brush and was extinguished in about 90 minutes.
Fire Capt. Marty DiMasi said the fire was called in at 9:52 a.m., and crews arrived in two minutes just south of the new rodeo grounds. While they fought the fire, officers from the Payson Police Department stopped traffic and reduced southbound traffic to one lane. Crews had it under control and cleared the scene by 11:30 a.m.
"The cause is undetermined," he said, "probably started by something pitched out a car window, but we have no way of knowing."
DiMasi said that even though the fire was small, it was larger than it should have been for a mid-winter brush fire.
"It's a good reminder that it's dry as a bone out there. It's ready to burn," he said. "That should have only been as small as a campfire. It was very unusual fire behavior for February."