MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. - The Diamond Fire, burning southeast of Indian Spring Peak, can be seen from Highway 87 as crews work to contain the fire.
The fire has burned 5,060 acres and is 50% contained. The rugged terrain and excessive heat made things difficult for crews on the ground.
This fire is not to be confused with the Diamond Fire that burned near Rio Verde Foothills/Scottsdale at the end of June. That fire was fully contained by July 5.
Residents in the areas of Sunflower, Cross F Ranch and Diamond Ranch were initially evacuated but are now allowed to go home as of July 30.
Check for more information from Maricopa County here.
The Diamond Fire is now 50% contained.
From the Tonto National Forest: "With a significant decrease in heat sources and increasing containment, Southwest Incident Management Team 3 will transition the Diamond Fire to the Tonto National Forest Type 3 organization on Friday morning. Ground resources have been patrolling and monitoring all areas of the fire and UAS infrared flights have yielded minimal heat detection. Additionally, crews have conducted grids in unburned fuels around Sunflower to ensure there is no heat outside of the line."
"Today a Tonto National Forest Type 3 organization will shadow Southwest Incident Management Team 3 in anticipation of transition Friday morning. Resources on the fire line will continue with containment efforts, backhaul, and rehabilitation. The masticator will continue removing fuels along the Old Beeline Highway and an excavator will also be working in that area to clear brush piles from fuels removal. Temperatures are expected to climb into triple digits again today with decreasing humidities and chances for thunderstorms."
'The Type 2 team fire information line listed above will be deactivated at 8:00 p.m. Thursday. However, information regarding the Diamond Fire moving forward will be through the Tonto National Forest Fire Information Line at 602-525-1042."
The Diamond Fire is now 39% contained.
From the Tonto National Forest: "Firefighters continued to take advantage of increased humidities from recent wetting rains and expanded containment around the north side of the fire into Alder Springs yesterday. There has been a significant decrease in heat and smoke on the fire and crews are utilizing favorable conditions to monitor the fire, patrol containment lines, and extinguish any remaining heat sources found. Dozers completed the access improvement operation north of Sunflower and the masticator continued removing fuels along the Old Beeline Highway and around the Sunflower Education Center."
"Ground resources will continue to monitor and patrol the fire today. Firefighters will improve containment lines around the fire and mop-up any remaining heat along the line. Containment efforts will be concentrated to the western and southern areas of the fire, which were previously the most active locations. Engines will continue patrolling the State Route 87 corridor and the community of Sunflower. With increased containment and diminishing heat sources around the perimeter, fire managers will begin demobilizing resources over the next few days, as well as continue backhaul and equipment rehab."
"A warming and drying trend is expected to begin today and continue through the week. A similar trend of building afternoon clouds and potential thunderstorms will increase the potential for gusty outflow winds. Any remaining heat may smoke or move when driven by wind."
The Diamond Fire has burned 5.010 acres and is now 34% contained.
The entire southeast side of the fire along State Route 87 is now contained. Yesterday, fire managers took advantage of higher humidity to insert firefighters into the Maverick Mountain area and use direct suppression action on the most active part of the Diamond Fire. Due to the inaccessible location, hotshots were shuttled into the area on helicopters to address remaining heat. Working with aircraft, the hotshots were able to mop up and secure the fire’s edge to reduce the chance of further movement south into the delicate Sonoran Desert ecosystem. The operation was successful, and the Maverick Mountain area will continue to be monitored by aircraft," Tonto National Forest officials said.
The Diamond Fire is now 9% contained.
Evacuation orders have been lifted.
The fire has grown to 5,150 acres and remains at 0% containment.
The fire has grown to 4,635 acres.
The fire has ballooned to 3,657 acres.
Cross F Ranch and Diamond Ranch are now under GO orders, along with Sunflower residents.
State Route 87 has reopened in both directions, although the right southbound lane remains closed at MP 218.
A type 2 incident management team is taking over command of the Diamond Fire, which is burning northeast of Fountain Hills.
People in Sunflower remain under an evacuation order.
Both directions of SR 87 in the area of the fire have been closed.
The firefight continues into the night and picks up Monday morning.
"Airtankers were turned back due to thunderstorms in the area. This fire is located in very remote country … Firefighters will be on the scene throughout the evening," the Tonto National Forest said.
This was a lightning-caused fire, first responders say.
A Tonto National Forest official says nine fires were started as a result of lightning Saturday night, but this is the biggest and most southern one.
The wind, the heat and the terrain are all challenges for crews, who've been battling the flames with three hot shot crews, seven engines, and more than 110 personnel.
Still, progress has been slow.
"We are at 0% still with containment on this fire. I can say we’ve worked all day long with VLATs, air tankers to get containment with this fire. It’s helped, but we are still at 0% containment," says Denise Croker, Tonto National Forest spokesperson.
The fire first sparked.
Photo from the Tonto National Forest
Map of where the fire is burning: