With Red Flag Warning in place, crews continue fighting Tucson-area Bighorn Fire
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With Red Flag Warning in place, crews continue fighting Tucson-area Bighorn Fire

Evacuations in place for Mt. Lemmon, Summerhaven area

  • Updated
Bighorn Fire

The Bighorn Fire crest a ridge on the north side of the Santa Catalina Mountains as the day's steady winds push the flames closer to Mount Lemmon, Tucson, Ariz., June 16, 2020.

The Bighorn Fire pushed to the northeast on Tuesday, just west of Summerhaven and the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter Observatory. 

An evacuation order was issued for parts of Mount Lemmon including Summerhaven and Mt. Bigelow. The evacuation order is still in place as of Wednesday morning.

In a Wednesday morning briefing, the Southwest Incident Management Team’s Travis Mabery said a lot of work has been done in the Summerhaven community, including burnout operations. Mabery added that many resources will continue to be in the area today. 

Protection measures have also been made farther down Catalina Highway, where a “set” alert is in place, which means residents should be prepared to evacuate. 

This story continues after the map

“The big story today is the weather — the winds,” Mabery said. According to the National Weather Service, a Red Flag Warning is in place for “strong gusty winds out of the southwest” and dry conditions. 

According to Coronado National Forest officials, Red Flag Warnings are put in place when humidity is less than 15%, combined with winds over 20 mph, over a period of at least three hours. The warning is in place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

“We expect to see significant fire growth for the course of today,” Mabery said.  

Mabery added that weather conditions could limit aviation, including helicopters and airtankers. 

“We’re going to be borderline on those conditions as to whether they’re going to be able to fly, especially as we go into the afternoon,” he said. “There’s a high probability that the aviation could be grounded today.”

Mabery said crews have done a good job along the north and west sides of the fire, adding that Tucsonans will continue to see fire in the upper regions of Ventana and Espero Canyons today.

The fire has grown to 17,492 acres with 40% contained.

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