River Fire ignites on Tonto National Forest

September 4, 2019 - 1:38 pm

The River Fire was reported on Tuesday evening, after a monsoon storm moved through the area.  Located on top of New River Mesa, dry grass and windy conditions caused the fire to grow rapidly and be visible from many parts of the north valley after dark.  Firefighters responded last night, and are focusing their efforts on securing the southern edge of the fire. 

The fire is currently moving north and east, away from communities and into areas where there are not threats to homes or other infrastructure.  Winter rains have produced an abundance of fine fuels (grass) that has cured, which combined with the lack of monsoon rains continues to challenge suppression efforts for any new starts.

Firefighters will be faced with steep terrain, lack of road access, excessive heat, and the potential for afternoon thunderstorm winds.  The safety of firefighters is always our highest priority, and we will work to secure the edge closest to communities while limiting firefighter exposure to these challenges.

Smoke may be visible in the afternoon as afternoon winds increase, and communities in the area may smell smoke as the air settles into the drainages below the Mesa at night.

River Fire overview


  • Approximately 7 miles northwest of Cave Creek, and 14 miles east of Black Canyon City
  • Nearest town is Cave Creek

Start Date:         9/3/2019             

Size:      400 acres            

Percent Contained:  0

Cause:  Lightning