ARIZONA NEWS

Watermelon Fire in northern Arizona closes I-17 for several hours

Jun 5, 2022, 5:06 PM | Updated: Jun 6, 2022, 9:34 am

(Unsplash Photo)...

(Unsplash Photo)

(Unsplash Photo)

PHOENIX — A wildfire in northern Arizona closed Interstate 17 in both directions for several hours Sunday, authorities said.

The highway shut down north of Sedona sometime after 3 p.m., Arizona Department of Transportation officials said.

The southbound lanes were closed at milepost 306, while the northbound lanes were closed at milepost 299, just north of State Route 179.

Traffic was running in both directions again before 9 p.m.

The blaze, called the Watermelon Fire, started around 2:50 p.m. near milepost 303, 20 miles south of Munds Park, from an RV that caught on fire and spread to Coconino National Forest land.

It grew to 25-30 acres before firefighters stopped forward progress on the fire.

About 70 personnel, including seven fire engines, a battalion, a Hotshow crew, two fire prevention patrol units and a fuels crew, were on scene fighting the blaze.

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Watermelon Fire in northern Arizona closes I-17 for several hours