Forest Service crews handled nearly a dozen wildfires spread across the Tonto National Forest this weekend after monsoonal storms blew in, striking up fires like matches.
At least 11 confirmed fires started from lightning strikes throughout the weekend, five of which firefighters battled on Sunday. The rest were snuffed.
The fires ranged in size from one-tenth of an acre up to more than a 1,000 acres.
None threatened structures.
The largest fire was the White Fire south of Superior, which had grown to 1,000 acres as of Sunday night.
The Cain Fire, less than two miles west of Four Peaks, charred 200 acres, and was still putting up smoke Saturday.
Near Tonto Basin, crews contained the Reno, Tin and Picture Fires as well as the Gordon Fire, 11 miles north of Young.
Besides the Reno Fire, all were single-tree snags and under one-tenth of an acre, according to the Forest Service.
In the Mogollon Rim area, Coconino National Forest fire managers are still letting burn a fire that started in July.
The Egypt Fire, located in the West Clear Creek Wilderness approximately eight miles west of Clints Well, began July 15 from lightning and is approximately 450 acres with a low rate of spread.
Officials say the fire is clearing off fuels on the ground. In the bone-dry, wind-whipped months of May, June and pre-monsoon July, crews fight almost every fire for fear of seeing a fire blast out of control. But with the forest wet and fire behavior restrained, the Forest Service increasingly lets fires burn to reduce the thousands of tons of wood that has accumulated on the forest floor.
“The fire is burning in an area where fuel reduction is needed,” said Mogollon Rim District Ranger Linda Wadleigh. “By maintaining fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem we are reducing fuel loads, and decreasing the risk of more severe fires in the future.”
Fire personnel are closely managing the fire’s spread daily.
Smoke from the fire can be seen throughout the West Clear Creek Canyon area and at times, in the Camp Verde area.