Interstate 17 remained shut down in both directions due to a brush fire near Sunset Point on Wednesday afternoon, according to a tweet from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The Black Mesa Fire was estimated to be 200 acres by 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Incident Information System website. The wildfire, which began around 5:30 p.m., is located on I-17 near Badger Springs Road in the median and on the east side of the freeway, the web site states. 

Northbound lanes were closed at Badger Spring road, and southbound lanes were closed at State Route 69. Traffic was being forced to exit the highway. The Arizona Department of Transportation didn’t have an estimate on when the freeway would reopen and recommended that drivers in the affected area use alternate routes.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety tweeted around 8:20 p.m. that fire crews working in the area were conducting back burns and hoped to be able to open at least one lane in each direction within the next few hours.

The Bureau of Land Management, in a tweet posted around 8:40 p.m., said the fire had no containment. Resources were conducting burnout operations and crews were expected to be on hand well into the night.


The Black Mesa Fire had grown to approximately 200 acres shutting down traffic on Interstate 17 in both directions on Wednesday night, Aug. 21, 2019.
Arizona Republic

The Sunset Point area is about 10 miles north of Black Canyon City.

I-17 is a popular thoroughfare between Phoenix and Flagstaff, the latter being a popular destination for Valley residents to cool down during the summer months.

ADOT didn’t provide an estimate on how long the closure would be. Details regarding the fire’s size and cause weren’t immediately available.

This is a developing story. Check back with azcentral for updates.

Reach the reporter Perry Vandell at 602-444-2474 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @PerryVandell.

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