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Diamond Fire: The latest on the wildfire near Sunflower, Arizona

Aug. 7: Containment increases to 86%

The Diamond Fire near Bartlett Lake in the Tonto National Forest is now 86% contained, with 5,060 acres. 

Aug. 4: Diamond Fire is now 50% contained

The Diamond Fire near Bartlett Lake in the Tonto National Forest is now 50% contained.

A fire fighting team with the national forest has assumed command after heat detection dropped.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has lifted its evacuation notices for residents of Sunflower, Cross F Ranch, and Diamond Ranch. Stage 1 fire restrictions are still set across Tonto National Forest.

Aug. 2: Favorable weather helps firefighters

The Diamond Fire located in the Tonto National Forest is at 34% containment with 5,101 acres burned. Humidity helped firefighters better control the fire, according to officials. 

July 29: Diamond Fire burns for one week with zero containment

The Diamond Fire located in the Tonto National Forest continues to burn at 4,770 acres with no containment. Fire officials made progress in response to the blaze on Friday.

That’s according to Evan Burks, spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service.

“Crews continue to monitor, secure and hold all lines around the fire in the northern and eastern and southern portions of the fire. Ground resources cooled hot spots with aerial support,” he said.

Burks also said the communities of Sunflower, Cross F Ranch and Diamond Ranch are under a GO evacuation notice. Another shutdown of State Route 87 is a possibility. Drones are restricted in the fire area as they inhibit pilots from doing their jobs.

July 27: Diamond Fire in Tonto National Forest has doubled

The Diamond Fire burning in Tonto National Forest south of Payson more than doubled its footprint overnight. As containment remains at zero percent, a growing number of personnel are working to block the fire’s growth.

The fire as of Thursday morning burned more than 3,600 acres. The combination of dust storms and high winds overnight aided in pushing the fire north.

Efforts are being prioritized on keeping the fire away from the Beeline Highway as well as the Sunflower community. Forest Service Spokesperson Evan Burks says they are taking note of the weather forecast as they continue to battle this escalation. “Where those winds push and align with steep topography and fuels we expect that there’s potential for rapid fire growth” he said.

Crew members are now aiming to get ahead of the fire through burnout operations to prevent impact on nearby communities.

July 26: How 2 separate wildfires got the same name

A wildfire broke out northeast of the Valley on July 22, and it has now grown to more than 1,000 acres. Its name – the Diamond Fire – is the reason this blaze is sparking a sense of deja vu.

The Diamond Fire is burning in the Tonto National Forest, and temporarily closed State Route 87. Residents in nearby Sunflower have been ordered to evacuate.

A month earlier, a blaze of a similar size broke out near Scottsdale. It was also called the Diamond Fire. 

Tiffany Davila with the Department of Forestry and Fire Management said fires are named by the first responder on sight.

“Wildfire names are either named after a geographic feature, something close by, a street name, a peak, a mountain, where the fire started, the name would come from somewhere nearby," she said.

These two unrelated fires were named by two different agencies.

“Why they chose to name it the Diamond Fire again, probably based off of where the fire was and the geographic location to Diamond Peak," she said.

The first fire was named by a state crew, while the current one was named by a crew from the Tonto National Forest.

July 26: SR 87 reopened

State Route 87 has reopened after a closure for the Diamond Fire southwest of Sunflower. This is a separate incident from a fire with the same name earlier in July near Scottsdale.

This blaze has burned 1,034 acres and was zero percent contained on July 26.

Tonto National Forest and Arizona State Forestry and Fire Management officials are conducting control operations near the fire.

→  Get the latest news on wildfires in Arizona

Andrea Barrios is an intern at KJZZ. She is a recent graduate from Grand Canyon University. She has received a bachelor's degree in digital film with an emphasis in production. Her experience is in a wide range of productions including theater, feature films, music videos, sports broadcasts and podcasts. Her passion is finding and telling stories about underdogs who overcame their circumstances despite adversity.