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Weekend Lightning Causes Verde Fire Near Black Mesa

Saturday night’s lightning was a byproduct of thunderstorms and is being blamed for the Verde Fire.

It is burning on the east side of the Verde River, near Black Mesa, about 2 miles northeast of the Fort McDowell Reservation, and four miles east of Rio Verde community.

Carrie Templin with the Tonto National Forest said the fire has burned about 2,000 acres and is growing.

“It’s out in an area that doesn’t have a lot of roads and isn’t accessible. So, we are using helicopters and yesterday afternoon also used some air tankers to try to slow the flames down," Templin said. 

Templin indicated grass and brush are providing fuel for the fire, threatening small desert trees in the forest.

She said as a precaution, forest visitors in the Lower Sycamore, Sugarloaf and along Forest Road 160, north of the Sugarloaf Road, are being asked to relocate to other areas.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.