BYLAS — A fire that started Saturday, June 8, near Bylas has grown to about 300 acres and forced the closure of U.S. Highway 70 for about 9 hours MOnday.

Arizona Department of Transportation announced the closure of the highway, between mileposts 288 and 294, between Globe and Safford, at 10 a.m. Monday. The closure was due to heavy smoke in the area, causing unsafe visibility.

“Motorists planning to take this route should consider delaying travel or take an alternate route,” ADOT wrote in announcing the closure.

ADOT announced the highway's reopening at 7:11 p.m. Monday.

Meanwhile, the San Carlos Apache Tribe issued a pre-evacuation notice for Bylas residents living near the Gila River in the Ready To Go and Navajao Points areas.

"The San Carlos Police Department is closely monitoring the situation and will notify the public through public service announcements and social media," the tribe wrote in the notice.

The Southwest Coordination Center said the unnamed fire is located about 22 miles southeast of San Carlos and a type-3 incident team is on order. Type 2 and Type 3 aircraft have also been assigned.

Cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Editor's note: This story was edited Monday, June 10, 2019, at 7:46 p.m., with information about the highway reopening and the San Carlos Apache Tribe's pre-evacuation notice.

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