Painted Fire

The Painted Fire is burning in the Tonto National Forest near Apache Lake.

APACHE JUNCTION — A wildfire has closed a 14-mile stretch of State Route 88 west of Roosevelt Lake, severing an entry route for popular recreation areas east of Apache Junction.

There was no projected reopening time for the portion of the highway known as the Apache Trail between Roosevelt Lake on the east and below Apache Lake on the west, the state Department of Transportation said Friday.

The lightning-caused Painted Fire was reported Wednesday near Horse Mesa Dam and Apache Lake and was estimated to have burned 1.4 square miles of brush and grass as of Friday.

Apache Lake Marina and Burnt Corral Campground were closed at 8 a.m. Friday.

Fire officials said battling the blaze is challenging due to the rugged terrain, wind outflows from storms and extreme drought conditions.

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