BY LINDA BENTLEY | MAY 16, 2012
Wildfires rage out of control in Tonto and Prescott
Smoke from two fires raging out of control in both Tonto and Prescott national forests contributed to the bad air quality in Phoenix on Tuesday.
The Sunflower Fire, a wildfire that started Saturday, May 12, 21 miles south of Payson near Sunflower has consumed 12,000 acres in Tonto National Forest. As of Wednesday morning it was only 7 percent contained. The cause is under investigation.
The growth potential of the fire is extreme as the location is in very rugged and steep terrain.
The Gladiator Fire, reported Sunday morning, originated from a structure fire on private property near Crown King. It has since spread onto the Prescott National Forest. As of Wednesday morning, the fire had consumed 2,000 acres and was only 5 percent contained.
Steep terrain and limited access have made the fire difficult to contain.
All roads leading to Crown King are closed and a mandatory evacuation is in effect for residents of the community. An evacuation center has been set up at Mayer High School in Spring Valley.