A brush fire that sparked in north Phoenix near Loop 303 has closed an 11-mile stretch of I-17.
A fast-moving brush fire closed an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 17 in north Phoenix for about five hours Thursday, burning an estimated 1,200 acres before it was contained in the early evening, officials said.
Northbound lanes beginning at Loop 101 reopened about 6:30 p.m. The southbound lanes, which were closed at Pioneer Road, had reopened by 7:30 p.m. Both had been closed since 2:30 p.m., after the fire sparked and starting sending smoke across the highway.
The closure caused long backups in both directions, as traffic was diverted off the highway.
State Route 74 eastbound was closed at Lake Pleasant Parkway, as was a portion of Loop 303 westbound between Interstate 17 and Lake Pleasant Parkway. Those closures remained in place into Thursday evening.
The 303 Fire started Thursday afternoon west of I-17, near Loop 303, but heavy smoke blowing toward I-17 forced the closure.
About 75 firefighters fromPhoenix and Daisy Mountain crews and 55 from the Bureau of Land Management and State Fire responded to the fire.
The fire initially was about 3 acresbut spread quickly.It had expanded to about 100 acres by 3:45 p.m.
Officials said no buildings were immediately threatened. Firefighters remained at the scene Thursday evening containing hot spots.
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