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Fire officials give community members an update on the Burro Fire

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 02:35:29-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) Fire officials gave community members an update to the Burro Fire Monday night.

The meeting was held at Sahuaro High School.

The Burro Fire was first reported on Friday in foothills of Redington Pass and is an estimated 14,112 acres. Summerhaven residents were evacuated Monday morning, and Mount Lemmon Highway is closed.

MORE: Burro Fire road closures.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

There are about 469 resources assigned to the fire, according to InciWeb.

Jay Lusher, the operations section chief for the Southwest Incident Management Team, says the fire is about 3.5 miles from the radio towers at Mt. Bigelow. 

Most of the fire activity Monday was in the southern area of the fire.

Lusher says evacuations are necessary because traffic would make it difficult for crews to work along the road. Catalina Highway and the control road on the mountain will be used to control the fire, crews said.

Below is an update from InciWeb Monday night:

Indirect line construction and structural protection continued to be the focus along the Catalina (Mt. Lemmon) Highway. On the south side of the fire, firefighters continued preparation along the Redington Pass Road. Natural barriers are also being used to aid in suppression efforts. Airtankers and helicopters were used to help delay the fire’s spread where they could be used safely and effectively. With extreme temperatures, we expect to continue to have periods in the afternoons when it’s too hot to fly.

It's unclear when evacuation orders will be lifted. Fire officials say rain is needed in the area to help with containment.

The Burro Fire is 0% contained.

Bea Day, the incident commander with the Southwest Incident Management Team, says this is a critical part of fire season as we are right before monsoon so crews are dealing with dry conditions.

At the meeting Monday was Pamela Selby-Harmon, who is the postmaster at the Mount Lemmon post office. She says there are about 40 full-time Summerhaven residents who get their mail at the location.

Selby-Harmon lives in Tucson but was up all night evacuating the post office. Her home was destroyed in the Aspen Fire in 2003, so she knows what it feels like to evacuate.

"Initially you kind of freak out, and then you just kind of drop in to some mode of there's not a lot you can do," Selby-Harmon said. "You do what you can, you gather what you can, you stay as calm as you can because adrenaline and angst doesn't help get anything done when you're under a time crunch like this."

For now Summerhaven residents can get their mail at the post office at 6460 E. Grant Road.

There is an information center set up for evacuees at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library at 8959 E. Tanque Verde Road.

The Burro Fire is in the same area where the Bullock Fire burned in 2002.