Near record highs and dry conditions didn’t help firefighters this week as they battled a forest fire south of Roosevelt Lake.
Officials say lightning started the Pinion Fire on Tonto National Forest about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, roughly 15 miles southeast of Tonto Basin.
As of Friday morning, the fire had spread to 200 acres.
Firefighters completed a backburn Wednesday night in the area of Two Bar Ridge Road and have remained on scene there.
With higher humidity levels and cooler temperatures overnight, crews predicted the fire would slow its growth. Containment is at 50 percent with 100 percent containment expected by today (Sept. 6).
Equipment on scene includes several crews, two engines, one air attack and one helicopter.
The National Weather Service in Flagstaff says there is only a slight chance of storms through Friday with dry, slightly above average temperatures expected.
However, by Saturday forecasters say moist air from the south will bump the chances of thunderstorms up to 30 to 40 percent. The clouds and chance of storms will continue through early next week.
After years of drought, Rim Country has logged an almost normal year for rainfall. Although Roosevelt Lake has dwindled to just 44 percent of its capacity, this week both the Salt River and the Verde River were flowing at nearly twice their normal flows, thanks to monsoon storms on the watersheds.
And whatever else you might think about Rim Country weather — it’s a good week not to live in the Valley.
Phoenix is bracing for near-record heat. For instance, on Thursday the forecast called for a high of 111, compared to the 1945 record of 113 for that date. Today, the forecast calls for a high in Phoenix of 109. While Payson has enjoyed a near-normal monsoon season, Phoenix has received 2.1 inches in the monsoon compared to the normal 2.8 inches.