A brush fire burned 200 acres in the bed of the Salt River in the southwest Valley on Sunday.
The Southern Fire – named for the nearest cross-street: Southern Avenue and El Mirage Road – was expected to be fully contained by 11 p.m. Sunday, Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Pamela Mathis said.
The brush fire started about mid-day Saturday, she said.
An origin was not immediately ascertained, BLM officials said, but with no recent lightning strikes it most likely was human-caused.
Fighting the fire were three single-engine air tankers contracted by the BLM, a helicopter under the Arizona State Land Department, two crews from the Arizona Department of Corrections and numerous engines from BLM, the Arizona State Land Department and Rural/Metro.
Mathis noted that one of the DOC crews, from nearby Arizona State Prison Complex- Perryville, was comprised totally of women.
The fire sent up a black column of smoke visible from downtown Mesa, about 28 miles to the east.
One of the plants in the river bottom is salt cedar, also known as tamarisk, which burns with a dark smoke.
BLM officials said no one was injured in the brush fire as of late Sunday.