Highway 87 Closed Due To Edge Complex Fire

Fire threatens emergency communications tower

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The area of Sunflower is being evacuated and Highway 87 is closed in both directions this morning as the Edge Fire moves west toward the community and has jumped the highway in several places.

The fire's northwest flank is "very active," with 40-50 foot flame lengths as it moves toward Sunflower, said Sandy Alt, fire information officer with the U.S. Forest Service.

Northbound traffic is being turned around at Bush Highway, while southbound traffic is being turned around at Highway 188.

Ground crews are on the scene and the Forest Service hopes to have air support by 10 a.m., but there is no estimate as to when the highway might reopen.

Portions of Highway 188 and the U.S. 60 are also closed as a result of wildfires.

There is some concern that a radio tower on Mount Ord, which serves as the primary communications link for the Department of Public Safety and the Gila County Sheriff's office in Payson, would be affected by the fire, DPS Sgt. John Whetten said.

If the tower is affected by the fire, DPS and the sheriff's office would experience radio "dead spots" along Highway 87 and in Payson, limiting their communications, Whetten said.

For current road conditions on Highway 87 please call ADOT at 1-888-411-7623, or visit their website at www.az511.com.

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