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Sawtooth Fire forces evacuations for some residents in Queen Valley

(Facebook Photo/Tonto National Forest)

PHOENIX — An evacuation order was issued Tuesday for some residents in Queen Valley as crews battle the Sawtooth Fire.

A precautionary “go” order was issued for homes along Silver King and Williams roads starting at noon as firefighters begin backburning operations in an effort to protect structures in the area.

Residents should be prepared to be out of their homes for a minimum of three days, Tonto National Forest officials said in a press release.

Other residents of Queen Valley, which is located about 50 miles east of downtown Phoenix, and those in surrounding communities aren’t affected by the evacuation order.

Tuesday evening, Tonto National Forest officials said in a separate press release that the structure protection measures that had been taken in the Queen Valley and Elephant Butte communities had been successful.

Despite increased fire activity in the late afternoon northwest in Peralta Canyon, officials said air resources were able to halt its progress.

Wednesday at 6 a.m., Southwest Type 1 Incident Management Team, led by incident Commander Alan Sinclair, will take command of the Sawtooth Fire, according to the press release.

The lightning-caused Sawtooth Fire had grown to 21,000 acres and was only 8% contained as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Tonto National Forest officials.

Tuesday morning, the blaze was reported to have burned 18,500 acres and was 8% contained.

The communities of Elephant Butte, Hardt Tank and Angel Basin were evacuated Monday morning as a result of the fire.

Areas around Peralta Road, Hewitt Station, Rogers Trough and the Woodbury Trailhead have also been closed.

Forest officials said the fire started around 2 miles northeast of the Peralta Trailhead, which has since been closed.

According to InciWeb, about 300 firefighters and overhead support have been assigned to battle the blaze, which is burning in the same area as the Woodbury Fire from last year, which burned about 125,000 acres.

In Cave Creek, the Ocotillo Fire, which displaced about 500 people and burned almost 1,000 acres, was 100% contained by around noon Tuesday, when an evacuation order was lifted.

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