Loop 202, McKellips fire: Big flames spark near Mesa freeway

MESA, AZ - A large debris fire continues to smolder along the Loop 202 in Mesa after sending thick plumes of smoke out over the area for much of Wednesday afternoon.

According to Mesa fire spokesman Forrest Smith, the fire started from organic items, such as yard clippings, catching fire.

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The flames then spread to wooden spools and tires, Smith said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"One thing investigators will look at is in the spontaneous combustion," Rural Metro Fire Department spokesman Colin Williams said. "Anytime you have this much organic material, that can create its own energy and its own heat and can spontaneously combust."

Rural Metro, Salt River and Mesa fire crews all responded to the scene, according to Smith. There is no water at the location, and the crews are letting the fire burn. Officials said the fire could burn for days.

Air15 video showed the blaze sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky, visible from across the Valley.

Rural Metro officials are monitoring the smoke because of the proximity to the freeway.

Viewers told ABC15 they could feel the heat from the flames as they drove by.

The entrance and exit ramps at McKellips Road were closed but had both reopened by 5:40 p.m. on Wednesday.

 Williams said no one was injured in the fire.

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