While residents of Cave Creek, Carefree and north Scottsdale breathe a collective sigh of relief, firefighters continue their struggle against the persistent northern push of the Cave Creek Complex wildfire.
The fire has moved away from densely populated areas toward
remote portions of the Tonto National Forest.
Late yesterday afternoon, the fire made rapid northern and eastern runs
toward Bloody Basin and the Verde River. Strong winds from the southwest, combined with exceedingly low humidity and tinder dry brush and grasses created towering plumes of smoke.
Overnight humidity did not materialize as hoped and plumes were already rising early this morning. The fire is now 83,000 acres in size.
Whitney's Southwest Area Type I Incident Management Team plans to emphasize protecting the 345 kV power transmission line that runs north-south through the Cave Creek Complex, keeping fire west of the Verde River and south of Bloody Basin Road, and protecting buildings on private and National Forest System land.
Crews will prepare vegetation along the Bloody Basin Road, at the head of the Complex, and the Table Mesa Road, on the western flank, for possible burnout.
Structural protection fire engines are standing ready in nearby communities and several private parcels within the National Forest should those areas be threatened.
To ensure the safety of firefighters working under the power line, the Western Area Power Administration, in conjunction with the Incident Management Team, has decided to de-energize the 345 kV power transmission line. It was de-energized at 11:00 this morning and will remain so throughout the day. This will not result in disruption of service in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Access north on the Seven Springs Road (Forest Road 24) will continue to be restricted. Bartlett Lake Road will be closed through the weekend. Access to the Tonto National Forest is closed via Spur Cross Road (FR 48), Table Mesa Road (FR 41), Bloody Basin Road (FR 269) and Needle Rock Road (FR 20).
For more information on the Cave Creek Complex Fire and other fires burning on the Tonto National Forest, check the Forest Service website at www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto.