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Wildfire burning in Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson
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Wildfire burning in Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson

A DC-10 air tanker from Mesa Gateway Airport drops retardant on the Heavy Fire in the Santa Rita Mountains.

The Heavy Fire is burning near the Helvetia Mine on the north end of the Santa Rita Mountains, southeast of Sahuarita. Several units from Coronado National Forest, Green Valley Fire District and other cooperating agencies are assigned to the fire, which was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The fire started on private land near Helvetia and burned onto Coronado National Forest, according to the forest service, which added that the fire is holding at about 50 acres within retardant and burnout lines.

Incident commanders used air tankers from Libby Army Air Field in Sierra Vista and very large DC-10 air tankers from Mesa Gateway Airport to create a band of retardant lines to keep the fire in check.

An air tanker drops retardant onto the Heavy Fire burning near the Helvetia Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains in south of Tucson, Ariz. on June 16, 2021.

The Pinnacle Fire burning in Coronado National Forest started June 10 and has grown to more than 13,000 acres. Video by Rick Wiley / Arizona Daily Star 2021

Contact Rick Wiley at

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