August 3, 2004
Two lightning-caused wildfires burning several hundred acres in the Tonto National Forest north of Cave Creek and Carefree are expected to come under control today.
The Jack fire grew to about 275 acres on Monday before firefighters began to halt its progress, keeping it about a quarter-mile from major transmission lines that provide power to the Valley, said Tonto Forest official Emily Garber.
The blaze is about 14 miles north of Carefree, about six miles from the popular Seven Springs campground.
No campers have been evacuated, Garber said.
The Lewis fire on Monday spread to 150 acres, coming within about five miles of Cave Creek to the north before it was about 25 percent contained by late afternoon.
The blaze was burning mostly atop a large mesa over rough terrain that was difficult for firefighters to reach, Garber said.
Both fires are within 10 miles of each other but “are going in directions away from the towns,’’ she said.
More than 100 firefighters were sent to battle the Jack fire and about 80 fought the Lewis fire. Lightning started both within the past few days, Garber said.
The fires may not be extinguished today but should pose no danger of spreading, she said.
Humidity, slower winds and light rain overnight Monday helped weaken the blazes, she said.
The U.S. Forest Service called in at least three helicopters and one large air tanker, Garber said.
The fires are among the eight largest in the Tonto National Forest this year, said spokesman Vinnie Picard.
The largest was the Willow, which charred 120,000 acres and came within about 25 miles of the north East Valley. It burned for three weeks before being contained July 17.
Three of the eight have been caused by people, the others were started by lightning.
It has cost more than $14 million to battle the fires, not counting the Jack and Lewis fires, according to figures from Tonto forest headquarters.