Personnel grows as crews continue to battle Woodbury Fire outside Phoenix
PHOENIX – Nearly 740 personnel are fighting the Woodbury Fire, which has eaten tens of thousands of acres in a forest east of Phoenix in less than 10 days.
The 40,577-acre fire Tonto National Forest was 6% percent contained by early Tuesday, but an online note projected full containment July 1.
Officials said Monday the wildfire had spread to 37,365 acres and that 736 firefighters were trying to contain it. A week ago, 250 personnel had been assigned.
The human-caused wildfire near Superior ignited June 8, fueled by tall grass and brush.
Pamela Mathis with the fire’s management team told KTAR News 92.3 FM nearby communities still weren’t in danger.
The blaze is doing damage about 11 miles from Apache Junction and about 9 miles from Gold Canyon.
“We have aggressive fire suppression and air attacks working to keep that fire in the wilderness,” Mathis said.
One area has been cold for several days, Mathis said.
“We don’t use the word containment until we’re absolutely sure that there is nothing smoldering, that another hot day could not immediately start that fire.”
The blaze has been spreading about a half-mile per hour, Mathis said, a fairly slow rate.
“A lot of the smoke plumes that people might see if they live in Superior or Globe … it’s inside the perimeters. It doesn’t mean the fire is moving to the outside.”
Fire managers scheduled a community meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church.
A 40-mile stretch of State Route 88 between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Lake has been in effect since Friday as a result of the fire.
The road is closed from Weavers Needle Vista Viewpoint, 2 miles northeast of Apache Junction, to S.R. 188, which runs along the west side of the lake, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.