Sawtooth Fire

QUEEN VALLEY — Nearly 400 firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in the Superstition Mountains during a heat wave.

The Sawtooth Fire had burned 24,729 acres and was 42% contained, officials said Friday morning.

Officials with the Incident Management Team said sparse fuels helped to limit fire spread Thursday even though the area was under an excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service. Temperatures reached 110 Thursday but are expected to cool by Saturday.

The most active part of the fire is in steep, rocky terrain in the Weavers Needle area on the northwest side of the fire, officials said. Firefighters are constructing indirect lines at the foot of the slope area and along the Peralta Trail and identifying holding opportunities should the fire grow to the north and west.

Thursday helicopters dropped water to successfully cool pockets of heat on the east side of the fire. On the southeast side of the fire, the Queen Valley and Elephant Butte areas in Pinal County are in mop-up and patrol status. A heavy helicopter also helped reinforce fire lines on the southwest side of the fire.

Firefighters will continue to use a range of direct and indirect tactics where they can do so effectively. The goal is to keep the fire from moving west and south as well as to keep the fire east of the main Superstition ridgelines, west of Forest Road 172 and out of Elephant Butte and Queen Valley.

On Friday, strong gusty 25-30 mph winds from the Southwest were expected. There is a chance of isolated, scattered thunderstorms, with the potential for dry lightning and outflow winds. Officials said firefighters are prepared to respond to increased fire activity and new starts in the area as needed.

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