Brush fires near Apache Junction prompt evacuation

Fire crews battled two brush fires that broke out in the far East Valley Thursday afternoon.

According to information provided by the Apache Junction Police Department, one fire, named the Lost Dutchman Fire by officials with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, broke out near Tomahawk and Lost Dutchman Boulevard, near a rodeo ground.

The 221-acre Lost Dutchman Fire is 60% contained as of Friday morning.

"Some guy in the pickup truck said fire across the road, and I didn't even know anything about it, and I looked out the window and my god, you can see nothing but fire," said Watne Null.

Null says he has never seen anything like this before.

"It's the first time I ever had this experience, and it made me kind of nervous a little bit," said Null.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials say State Route 88 has been reopened.

The second fire, named the Southern Fire by officials with the Bureau of Land Management, charred 35 acres of land near the Lost Dutchman Fire. Forward progress has stopped, according to BLM officials.

As a result of the fires, some began to evacuate.

"I turned real quick and told my wife and kids 'get out of here now. Let's go. We're not going to try and stay here,'" said James McGillivray. "I grabbed a case, a two-drawer cabinet and all my records and stuff in it, and station wagon too."