APACHE JUNCTION — A wildfire burning grass and brush in rugged terrain of the Tonto National Forest in northern Pinal County has caused the precautionary closure of a two-lane scenic state highway with cliffside sections along the Salt River and several recreational lakes.
The Arizona Department of Transportation said Friday an extended closure of State Route 88 between State Route 188 at Roosevelt Lake and about 2 miles northeast of Apache Junction is possible.
Fire managers said the human-caused fire was being fanned by high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds and had grown to 20 square miles.
More than 600 personnel are working to contain the blaze, dubbed the Woodbury Fire. Crews from the Eloy Fire Department, the Casa Grande Fire Department, the Northwest Fire District, Picture Rocks Fire Department and Golder Ranch Fire District have been deployed to assist with efforts.
As of Friday morning, the fire was still 0 percent contained.
Fire officials said at night the fire visually appears to be closer than it actually is. It is approximately 11 miles northeast of Gold Canyon.
There were no threats Friday to the Pinal County communities of Queen Valley Estates, Gold Canyon, Kings Ranch, Superior and Apache Junction.
The closures in Maricopa County will also include:
- Tortilla Flat
- Canyon Lake
- Apache Lake
- Campsites along State Highway 88 within the road closure area
The following areas remain open and accessible to the public:
- Lower Salt River
- Saguaro Lake
- Roosevelt Lake
- Bartlett Lake
Fire officials said the goal for Friday was to improve and join lines from Elephant Butte to Forest Road 172. Other crews were working to improve the fireline from Quarter Circle Ranch to the Peralta Trail. A group of firefighters is assigned to protect structures.
Crews will focus on holding the fire within the wilderness boundary. The weather will be hot at 105 with 20 mph wind gusts. The seven-day fire has been burning since the afternoon of June 8.