Cline Fire

The Cline Fire burned in the Sugarloaf Recreation Area west of State Route 87 April 24, 2020. 

Forest under fire restrictions

There were two wildfires on the Tonto National Forest recently despite the entire forest being under fire restrictions.

The human-caused Whitlow Fire started near Superior April 21 and spread to 842 acres. The Cline Fire meanwhile started Friday north of Fountain Hills in the Sugarloaf Recreation Area of State Route 87.

It spread to 66 acres before crews got it under control.

As of Saturday, the Cline Fire was 100% contained and the Whitlow Fire, 90% with full containment, expected Sunday evening.

The Whitlow Fire burned in the area of Hewitt Station. Officials believes it was started by recreational shooting.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the Cline Fire, but note it started less than a mile from Highway 87.

Payson and Globe Hotshots and four Tonto National Forest engines, with help from Fort McDowell Fire Department, worked throughout the night into the morning to reach full containment of the Cline Fire.

“Again, we ask the public to please adhere to the campfire restrictions in place and recreate responsibly,” said Clint Remington, incident command for the Whitlow Fire. “Due to significant grass grow, public awareness and vigilance is appreciated.”

Since April 22, igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire has been prohibited on all six national forests in Arizona until June 30, or until rescinded to protect the health and safety of employees and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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