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Middle Fire

Unit Information

Tonto National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2324 E. McDowell Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85006

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This incident is no longer being updated.

Overflight images of the Middle FireImage options: [ Full Size ]

The Middle Fire was first discovered on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, just outside of the Mazatzal Wilderness boundary on the Cave Creek Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest. The Middle Fire was one of several lightning-caused fires that occurred as a result of thunderstorms passing through the area. 

All of the lightning-caused fires received rain, but the Middle Fire continued to grow prompting fire officials to order a Type 2 Incident Management Team on July 7, 2021. The fire is burning 3 miles west of the Verde River and 3 miles northeast of Red Creek Ranch, in a remote area where access is extremely challenging due to steep, rocky terrain. Fire activity has steadily increased due to outflow winds from recent thunderstorms, higher temperatures, and lower humidity. The fire continues to grow to the north and northeast. 

Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management Team 4, led by Incident Commander Carl Schwope, assumed command of the Middle Fire at 6:00 AM on Friday, July 9, 2021.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginTuesday June 29th, 2021 approx. 03:00 PM
Location3 miles west of the Verde River, 3 miles northeast of Red Creek Ranch
Incident CommanderCarl Schwope, SW IMT 4
Coordinates34.217 latitude, -111.751 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel114
Size2,792 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained100%
Fuels Involved

Dominant fuels are grass and light brush. Fuels in all categories remain very dry with live fuels still at critical levels. Fire spread being determined by fuel density with heavier loadings assisting spread.

Significant Events

Minimal fire activity occurred due to thunderstorms and high relative humidity values consecutive days.


Planned Actions

Monitor the fire due to the precipitation near the fire.

Projected Incident Activity

No expected movement beyond current boundaries.


As of Monday, July 26, the fire was determined to be out.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Another round of morning showers and thunderstorms pushed through the area this morning producing a few hundredths of an inch of rain over the fire area. Good overnight relative humidity also seen. By afternoon, additional showers and thunderstorms over the next several days with near to slightly below normal temperatures and good overnight relative humidity recoveries. Main threats will continue to be heavy rain and frequent lightning.