Burro Fire

Firefighters performed burnout operations on the Burro Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains on Wednesday night.

The Burro Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains has grown to more than 26,000 acres, and is now 19 percent contained, officials said Friday.

Nearly 700 firefighters and other personnel are assigned to the fire, along with dozens of fire engines and water tankers as well as multiple helicopters. The fire started June 30 on the eastern slopes of the mountains.

Authorities are preparing to conduct burnout operations near the closed highway to Summerhaven to protect the evacuated summer-retreat community from the wildfire.

Fire management officials say crews have cleared miles of containment line and will begin burning vegetation in advance of the fire if it reaches predetermined trigger points east of the Mount Lemmon Highway.

Another community meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Sahuaro High School, 545 N. Camino Seco.

Fire officials said near-record high temperatures are a concern Friday. An excessive heat warning is in effect for the Burro Fire area. Temperatures are forecast to reach record levels across Southeastern Arizona. Thunderstorms may develop over the fire area, generating lighting strikes during the afternoon and evening hours. The storms are expected to generate little rain but may produce gusty outflow winds, fire officials said.

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The most active fire behavior was observed on the northwestern perimeter. Fire crews were able to limit growth to about 800 acres Thursday and crews will work Friday on minimizing growth in this area.

Today crews will be patrolling the eastern boundary of the fire. Southeasterly winds are assisting firefighting efforts by pushing the fire back onto itself. Containment lines have been built on the fire's edge near Redington Road and no growth of the fire is expected in that area.