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Sears Fire northeast of metro Phoenix stabilizes, containment increases

(InciWeb Photo)

PHOENIX – After steadily growing since igniting last week, the Sears Fire northeast of metro Phoenix appears to have stabilized, authorities said Wednesday night.

The Tonto National Forest wildfire south of Humboldt Mountain had grown to 14,476 acres and containment increased to 45% as of Wednesday evening, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It was 30% contained on Tuesday.

Officials lifted closures for Bartlett Dam Road and Bartlett Lake on Wednesday; however, Seven Springs and Horseshoe Lake roads remain closed.

The Sears Fire started Friday afternoon near Forest Service Road 24 and the Sears Kay Ranch, about 20 miles northeast of Cave Creek, and had been spreading through dry grass and brush.

It destroyed at least four homes and 10 outbuildings, the Forest Service said.

The cause of the Sears Fire has not yet been determined. According to InciWeb, firefighters expect containment to be completed Oct. 15.

It’s rare to see significant wildfire activity after July in Arizona, because seasonal rainfall usually douses the dry vegetation that fuels blazes.

But conditions remain dangerous following an exceptionally dry summer and weak monsoon season.

Stage one fire restrictions remain in effect across Tonto National Forest.

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