PHOENIX — A wildfire burning in northern Arizona closed Interstate 17 in both directions Sunday afternoon.
The highway shut down sometime after 3 p.m. with no estimated time for reopening, officials said in a press release.
The southbound lanes are closed at milepost 306, while the northbound lanes are closed at milepost 299, just north of State Route 179.
I-17 is closed in BOTH directions north of SR 179 due to an incident that began as a vehicle fire and is now known as the #WatermelonFire.
SB is closed at milepost 306. NB is closed at milepost 299.
— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) June 6, 2022
The blaze, called the Watermelon Fire, started around 2:50 p.m. near milepost 303, 20 miles south of Munds Park, from an RV that caught on fire and spread to Coconino National Forest land.
It grew to 25-30 acres before firefighters stopped forward progress on the fire.
About 70 personnel, including seven fire engines, a battalion, a Hotshow crew, two fire prevention patrol units and a fuels crew, are on scene fighting the blaze.
Drivers planning on using the I-17 are advised to allow for extra travel time.