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Spring Fire and Adams Fire: The latest on the Arizona wildfires in Tonto National Forest

June 8: Invasive species contributed to Adams Fire

Fire officials have now reached 91% containment of the Adams Fire burning east of Fort McDowell at the Tonto National Forest. Officials say Invasive species contributed to the fire by becoming fuel.

According to the Arizona Emergency Information Network, stinknet, red brome and buffelgrass are invasive species in the forest ecosystem. While fire crews have made progress on containment on the south side of the fire, they will still set up control lines around the west side over the weekend. More information on closures can be found on the Forest Service website.

Closure orders remain in effect in the areas surrounding the Adams Fire.

June 6: Containment increases to 62% for Adams Fire

The Adams Fire burning a mile east of Fort McDowell is now 62% contained and has burnt just over 5,000 acres of land alone.

In response to the human-caused fire, officials have put Stage 1 emergency restrictions in place throughout the entire Tonto National Forest, prohibiting most open fires and target shooting. Firefighters have made progress, but the extreme heat increases the risk of new wildfires.

The public should avoid the area and take measures against smoke drifting to the north and east of the blaze.

June 5: Adams Fire 50% contained

So far this year, nearly  37 square miles of the Tonto National Foresthas been burned from multiple, largely human-caused, wildfires.

One of them is  the Adams fire, a mile east of Fort McDowell. As of June 5, the fire was nearly 50% contained, with more than 260 personnel working on it.

Adams has burned almost 8 square miles. But the potential for evacuation of nearby homes has decreased.

June 3: Emergency closures in Tonto National Forest from Spring Fire, Adams Fire

Heightened wildfire danger has prompted officials to announce an emergency closure of all roads, trails, and land in the Tonto Basin and Mesa Ranger Districts of the Tonto National Forest.

Brad Widhalm, a fire prevention officer with the Cave Creek District, was on scene at the Adams Fire, which had burned over 5,000 acres and he said was human-caused blaze and the main source of concern.

“It's a different kind of summer this year. It's going to be one for the record books, and unless people start respecting the signs and understanding that we're doing this to save the beautiful Sonoran Desert. And when people come out here and disrespect it like that, then this is what happens,” said Widhalm. 

While the Spring Fire, which had burned just over 4,000 acres on Sunday afternoon, is more under control.

Widhalm recommended anyone in communities under "set" status have a go-kit ready with essentials like medication and important paperwork, just in case.

“It's gonna be hot and dry and until we get rain, these kinds of things are gonna happen,” he said. “So people just have to be very careful and cognizant.”

On Thursday, Bureau of Land Management regions in multiple counties in Arizona will be under fire restrictions due to increased risk. Banned activities will include building a fire, smoking, discharging a firearm, and using any torch or grinding implement. When using a portable stove, the area needs to be clear of grass and other vegetation.

Visitors and residents should check with their respective counties for information on fire restrictions.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the correct number of acres the Adams Fire had burned.

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Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.