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LIVE UPDATES: Bighorn Fire grows to 118,804 acres, is 73 percent contained

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Posted at 6:54 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-04 20:20:16-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — JULY 4, 2020

5:20 p.m.

10:11 a.m.

According to the Pima County Sheriff's Department, areas of the eastern Catalinas, east of Mount Lemmon highway -- north of Redington Road, surrounding the north and east by the county lines to include the community of Redington, formerly given the notice 'SET - Be Alert' have been downgraded to 'READY.'

JULY 3, 2020

8:47 p.m.

According to the latest information from fire officials, acreage is 118,804 with 73% containment and 653 personnel on the fire.

8:08 p.m.

8:46 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire size increased to 118,804 acres and 58 percent containment Friday.

JULY 2, 2020

10:15 a.m.

The southeastern Catalinas areas around Redington Road, bounded by the forest service boundary have returned to "READY" status.

10:09 a.m.

Areas of the eastern Catalinas, east of Mount Lemmon Highway at milepost 3 north of Redington Road have been downgraded from "GO" to "SET" evacuation protocol. Those who live in those areas can return to their homes. View the interactive map for evacuation guidelines and boundaries.

JULY 1, 2020

8:09 a.m.

According to the National Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire has grown to 118,370 acres and is now 54 percent contained. There are 905 people working to contain the fire. Equipment includes 17 hand crews, 68 engines, 9 helicopters, 6 dozers and 21 water tenders.

The cost of the fire is now $36.5 million.

Along the southern perimeter of the fire, the line has been contained east to Rattlesnake Canyon. Firefighters focused Tuesday on protecting structures between Summerhaven and Willow Canyon. Crews improved the perimeter of a three-acre spot fire near Radio Ridge. The fire continued to back south down Green Mountain. Firefighters held the fire at the Redington Road including a 50-acre spot fire that crossed the road during Monday’s winds. Dozers placed line around the spot fire and ground crews worked to mop it up. Firefighters held and improved fireline along Redington Road. North of Trail Tank road, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters used retardant and water to hold the line in check. East of Golder, firefighters monitored smoke on Samaniego Ridge. Crews worked on backhaul, suppression repair, and patrol on the remaining fire area on the west, north, northeast, and south sides, including Sabino Canyon.

Today’s Activity: Firefighters will focus on structure protection between Summerhaven and Willow Canyon and will continue work to contain the 3-acre spot fire near Radio Ridge. Firefighters will hold and improve fireline along Redington Road. Aircraft and ground crews will check fire movement south towards Trail Tank Road (#4429). Firefighters will work on the fireline along the Piety Hill Road (#649) in the Beuhman Canyon area. Along the southeast side of the fire, crews will monitor and hold containment lines around ranching infrastructure. Around the remaining fire perimeter, crews will backhaul equipment, conduct suppression repair, and patrol. Initial attack resources will be available for any new fire starts in the area as monsoonal moisture moves in.

5:53 a.m.

The fire has grown to 118,370 acres and is 45 percent contained.

JUNE 30, 2020

10:04 a.m.

There are now 1,018 people battling the fire, and the cost has grown to $35.2 million.

There are 74 engines, 21 hand crews, 10 helicopters, 6 dozers and 21 water tenders battling the blaze.

On Monday night, crews patrolled from Summerhaven to Willow Canyon and held a spot fire near Radio Ridge was in check. Crews used existing roads, dozer line, and direct attack to keep the fire from spreading east of Redington Road. Crews also contained a 50-acre spot fire east of the road and extended a fireline along Redington Road from approximately 1.5 miles south of Redington south to Trail Tank Road. The remaining fire areas on the south, west, and north sides, including Sabino Canyon were in patrol status.

On Tuesday, air operations will begin earlier but may be limited later in the day due to high winds. Firefighters will protect structures between Summerhaven and Willow Canyon andbolster containment around the three-acre spot fire near Radio Ridge. Firefighters will work to hold and improve fireline along Redington Road, moving north to the Brush Corral Road to halt the fire from spreading eastward. Along the southeast side of the fire, crews will set up containment lines around ranch infrastructure. Firefighters will monitor smoke on Samaniego Ridge. Crews will conduct equipment backhaul, suppression repair, and patrol on the remaining fire area on the west, north, northeast, and south sides of the blaze, including Sabino Canyon.

There will be a virtual public meeting tonight at 8 p.m. on Facebook.

For the latest evacuation notices: Visit pima.gov/bighorn.

7:48 a.m.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department issued a "GO" order for an area in the southeastern Catalinas. Those in the area are instructed to evacuate.

The evacuation zone is near Redington Road, bounded by the county line on the east. The northern, southern, and western boundaries do not follow any specific road. View the interactive map here for specific boundary details.

Redington Road is closed at the end of the pavement.

6:48 a.m.

According to the Forest Service, the fire has grown to 114,991 acres and is 45 percent contained.

JUNE 29, 2020

8:11 p.m.

According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire was very active toward the north and east by the strong and gusty southwest winds, with maximum winds speeds reaching up to 54 mph. The estimated cost of firefighting efforts is now at $35.2 million.

The Bighorn Fire is now at 107,099 acres and 45% contained. The U.S. Forest Service said there 1,080 people working to fight back the blaze, and the estimated cost of firefighting efforts now stands at $32.7 million.

A red flag warning is in effect from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, which will make the fire difficult to contain, the Forest Service said.

Several new evacuation orders were issued for the areas east and south of the Catalina Mountains over the weekend, including the community of Redington.

FULL MAP OF EVACUATION ZONES:

JUNE 27, 2020

7:58 a.m.

According to the National Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire has grown to 95,225 acres and is now 33 percent contained. There are 1,087 personnel working to contain the fire.

JUNE 26, 2020

9:48 a.m.

Catalina Foothills areas have been downgraded from "SET" to "READY" in the evacuation protocol.

The boundaries affected stretch from North Alvernon Way on the west to North Kolb Road on the east, from East Skyline Drive on the south to the forest service boundary on the north.

Those who have self-evacuated from these areas can return home. For more details and updates, check this interactive map.

8:27 a.m.

According to the National Weather Service, $25.2 million has been spent on the fire.

Resources battling the blaze include 24 hand crews, six dozers, 87 engines, 10 water tenders, 10 helicopters and 1,196 total people.

On Thursday, humidity dipped to the lowest levels of the season. tTe fire was very active near Magee Creek, Green Mountain, and Maverick Spring. During the day, crews focused on holding the fire. Overnight, burnout operations were conducted to improve the fireline near Palisades and Willow Canyon. Hold and mop-up operations were east of Biosphere, southwest of Oracle, and east of Saddlebrook along Baby Jesus Trail. On the east side of the fire, dozers constructed contingency line by connecting old road systems in the Davis Spring Road area. Fire behavior was quiet in Sabino Canyon yesterday and helicopters delivered bucket drops to hot spots.

On Friday, priority will shift to holding, improving, and mopping up from yesterday’s burnout operations in anticipation of increasing winds today into the weekend. Contingency line construction will continue along the east side of the fire as a buffer against the Burro fire scar. Firefighters will improve the firelines around Palisades and Willow Canyon following last night’s burning operations. Sabino, Rattlesnake, and Bird canyons will be closely monitored as fire activity continues to decrease. Two structural protection groups will provide coverage in the Summerhaven and Saddlebrook areas. South of Oracle, the north side of the fire will be in mop-up and patrol status. An initial attack group will be available for new fire starts.

7:16 a.m.

According to the National Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire has grown to 88,046 acres and remains 33 percent contained. That makes the fire larger than the Aspen Fire, which torched 84,750 acres in 2003.

JUNE 25, 2020

9:43 a.m.

According to the National Forest Service, the cost of the blaze has grown to $24.4 million. Seven crewmembers have been injured.

Crews include 22 hand crews, six dozers, 79 engines, 10 helicopters and 10 water tenders.

On Wednesday, crews focused on structure protection and fireline reinforcement in Summerhaven and Willow Canyon. They also conducted firing operations off Catalina Highway near Spencer Peak, the Charouleau Gap area east of Saddlebrook and southeast of Biosphere 2.

On Thursday, crews will mop up and hold containment lines and focus on structure protection, improving the fireline off the Catalina Highway near Spencer Peak and Spencer Canyon will be improved. Crews will also extend the containment line south from Biosphere 2. They will monitor the fire backing off Samaniego Ridge. Crews will scout for contingency line opportunities if needed east of the fire off of Davis Spring Road. Medium and heavy helicopter bucket drops will be used to slow fire spread and limit fire intensity in Sabino Canyon. Firefighters in Sabino Canyon will direct helicopter bucket drops and scout for areas to safely engage the fire. The fireline south of Oracle will be held and improved. An initial attack group is on standby to respond to new fire starts in the area.

7:04 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire size has increased to 81,702 acres according to the National Forest Service. There are 1,072 people battling the fire.

JUNE 24, 2020

10:09 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire size has increased to 75,574 acres according to the National Forest Service.

7 a.m.

According to the National Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire has grown to 74,547 acres and remains 33 percent contained. There are 876 people battling the fire.

JUNE 23, 2020

10:30 p.m.

A Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response team was created by the Coronado National Forest to start burned area assessments of this season’s forest wildfires, which includes the Bighorn and Emigrant fires that have burned on state, private, and federal lands, according to the Forest Service.

8:06 p.m.

7:45 p.m.

According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the fire's estimated cost has increased to $21.7 million.

9:45 a.m.

The fire moved into Lemmon Canyon and smoke was visible from Tucson as winds pushed the fire back towards the Wilderness of Rocks.

Firefighters focused on containment operations near Summerhaven and along the Catalina Highway. The line south of Oracle was patrolled and continued to hold.

Today’s priority will be structure protection and containment in the Mount Lemmon, Summerhaven, and Willow Canyon areas. Firing operations may be conducted to burn fuels in all areas, including along the eastern flank.

Crews will also explore chances to deepen the line south of Oracle. Crews will also monitor the fire backing off the Samaniego Ridge. An initial attack team will be available to support suppression of any new fire starts in the surrounding area.

A virtual public meeting will be streamed via Facebook Live tonight at 8 PM at facebook.com/bighorn.

Evacuation Notices: Visit this site.Pima County's evacuation notices site or Pinal County's site.

GO - EvacuateSET – Be AlertREADY – Prepare Now

· Mt. Bigelow & Lower Soldier HOA

· Community of Summerhaven

· Willow Canyon

· Lower Catalina Hwy./Lower Mt. Lemmon Communities from Organization Ridge Rd. to South Willow Canyon

· Community of Oracle

· Portions of East Golder Ranch

· Catalina Foothills between Alvernon Way and Sabino Canyon Road, north of Skyline Drive

· Peppersauce Canyon to Highjinks Road and Campo Bonito

· Oro Valley area from Catalina State Park south to Magee Road

· Catalina foothills areas from First Avenue to Alvernon Way

7:06 a.m.

National Forest Service officials say the blaze has grown to 65,536 acres and is 33 percent contained.

JUNE 22, 2020

10:10 p.m.

According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire remains burning at 58,553 acres, and containment is now at 33%. There are now 988 fire personnel, and four minor-injuries.

Forest Service says the fire is an estimated cost of $19.9 million.

8:10 p.m.

12:48 p.m.

Gov. Doug Ducey was visited the Bighorn Fire the Bighorn Fire Monday afternoon. He received a briefing from fire crews, went along on an aerial survey of the fire, then held a news conference in front of the base camp at Catalina State Park.

8:46 a.m.

Five crew members have suffered minor heat-related illnesses. Resources include 7 hotshot crews, 14 Type 2 hand crews, 2 Type 1 engines, 28 Type 3 engines, 5 Type 4 engines, 17 Type 5 engines, 25 Type 6 engines, 5 Type 1 helicopters, 1 Type 2 helicopter, 2 Type 3 helicopters, 19 water tenders and 6 bulldozers.

Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team 1 will assume command of the Bighorn Fire at 6 p.m. today. The teams will hold a joint virtual community meeting streamed via Facebook Live at facebook.com/bighorn at 8 p.m. tonight.

Overnight, the fire presented challenges near Radio Ridge with spotting around Marshall Gulch. Today, crews will work to contain those areas to protect the community. Additional firefighters have been mobilized to the Summerhaven community to protect of structures.

Firing operations south of Oracle have been successful. Crews will scout the area near Samaniego Ridge today to determine if additional firing operations are needed to keep that are of the blaze in check. On the east flank of the fire, crews will use bulldozers to tie containment lines into existing road systems and may conduct burnout operations near Davis Mesa.

7:18 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire has grown to 58,553 acres and is 16 percent contained. According to the National Forest Service, 959 firefighters are battling the blaze.

JUNE 21, 2020

7:09 p.m.

The Bighorn Fire is still at 51,628 acres, and containment is at 16%, according to the Forest Service. There are 969 personnel working on the fire.

Fire managers do not anticipate the fire in Ventana Canyon will have much, if any movement.

PHOTOS: Bighorn Fire in the Catalina Mountains

JUNE 20, 2020

9:25 a.m.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department says 'SET and GO' Notices from Saturday night are still in place.

Below are 'SET and GO' areas, according to PCSD:

  • Lower Catalina Highway/Lower Mt. Lemmon Communities from Organization Ridge Road to South Willow Canyon are in “GO” status.
  • Mt. Lemmon and Mt. Bigelow are in “GO” status north of Organization Ridge Road Area, including Summerhaven.
  • SET notices for portions of the Catalina Foothills and Golder Ranch remain in place.
  • The surrounding area south of East Hawser St. and east of North Lago del Oro Parkway, including Catalina Regional Park are under a "SET - Be Alert” notice.

8:56 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire has increased to 51,628 acres, and containment is at 19%, according to the Forest Service. The fire burning in Ventana Canyon decreased, and reached Sonoran Desert vegetation at the base of the canyon through the night. Fire crews will monitor Ventana and Esperero Canyons Sunday.

On Saturday night, the fire on the east slope of the canyon was highly visible, but did not reach or threaten any properties.

There are now 908 fire personnel working to contain the fire.

8:59 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire has increased to 42,798 acres, and containment is at 21%, according to the Forest Service. Crews are continuing burnout operations south of Oracle expanding on work from Friday to buffer the community from the main fire.

Smoke from the burnout operations is visible to the north and west from Highway 77, Forest Service says. Air operations are in full effect continuing to help firefighters on the ground.

JUNE 19, 2020

10:32 p.m.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department says they are continuing to ask non-residents not go into the “SET” areas to view the fire.

PCSD says vehicles in the area watching the fire impede fire operations, and can cause congestion and potential for traffic hazards.

8:10 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire is now burning at 37,208 acres, containment has dropped to 21%. There are now 894 fire personnel working to contain the fire.

Residents in Oracle and San Manual can expect to see smoke and flames into the night while firefighter conduct back burns south of Oracle along Old Mount Lemmon Highway near Peppersauce. Fire crews will begin a controlled fire, moving it toward the Bighorn Fire, absorbing fuel as it travels across the landscape. Once the Bighorn Fire reaches the burnout location, it should run out of fuel and stop any movement in that direction.

6:10 p.m.

The 924 crew members fighting the blaze include 8 hotshot crews, 12 Type 2 hand crews, 2 Type 1 engines, 27 Type 3 engines, 4 Type 4 engines, 31 Type 6 engines, 3 Type 1 helicopters, 1 Type 2 helicopter, 2 Type 3 helicopters, 11 water tenders and 6 bulldozers.

Lower wind speeds Friday will make smoke more settled and visible. The fire is expected to grow to the northeast in Cañada del Oro and Alder Canyons. Crews working south of Oracle and San Manuel will tie in containment lines today. Controlled burns will continue.

The fire is expected to move downslope at a moderate pace.

Evacuation Statuses:

Go - EvacuateSET – Be AlertREADY – Prepare Now
Mt. Bigelow & Lower Soldier HOACommunity of SummerhavenWillow CanyonPeppersauce Canyon to Highjinks Road and Campo BonitoCommunity of OraclePortions of East Golder RanchCatalina Foothills between Alvernon Way and Sabino Canyon Road, North of Skyline DriveOro Valley area from Catalina State Park south to Magee RoadTucson foothills area from First Avenue east to Alvernon Way

7:18 a.m.

The fire has grown to 37,058 acres and remains 40 percent contained. Officials say 924 crew members are battling the blaze.

6:22 a.m.

During a virtual town hall meeting on the Bighorn Fire Info Facebook page, officials said another drone entered the airspace they were working in on Thursday, June 18.

The drone forced crews to ground all aircraft for a bit, hindering the firefighting effort.

This makes four drones that have entered the controlled airspace, three of which happened within the first week the Bighorn Fire began burning.

JUNE 18, 2020

7:39 p.m.

The U.S. Forest Service says the Bighorn Fire did not grow in size today, listing its size at a steady 31,208 acres and remaining 40% contained.

The Forest Service provided this update on the Bighorn Fire Thursday evening.

Tonight, crews will get a slight reprieve from the wind events that have been stoking the Bighorn Fire since Tuesday. Unfortunately, the humidity will remain too low to significantly reduce fire behavior. On Mt. Lemmon, firefighters are working in the Bear Wallow area down through Willow Canyon HOA, clearing fire line from the 2002 Bullock and 2003 Aspen Fires. This work will protect values at risk from the spot fires in Stratton and Alder Canyons that grew together over the course of the day. Air tankers continued to drop fire retardant throughout the day to limit spread of the fire burning in the Wilderness of Rocks.

The fire spread further northeast today reaching Pig Spring, with slow fire progression expected overnight. Depending on weather conditions, crews may conduct backburn operations south of Oracle and San Manuel tonight to create a buffer between the fire and those communities.

Fire burning on Samaniego Ridge and in Ventana Canyon will continue to be visible and slowly back downslope. Fire managers are confident in the preparatory work crews have done in those areas to hold the fire.

5:00 p.m.

1:45 p.m.

Oracle has been placed in SET status.

Large animals can be sheltered at Rillito Race Track.

11:45 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire caused the residents of an Oracle area to evacuate Thursday.

Pinal County Sheriff's Office issued a "GO" alert for the area of Peppersauce Canyon to Highjinks Road and the Campo Bonito area of Oracle.

An evacuation center has been set up at Canyon del Oro High School.

10 a.m.

The Willow Canyon area has been evacuated.

There are now 808 crewmembers battling the fire. Resources include 7 hotshot crews, 8 Type 2 hand crews, 2 Type 1 engines, 27 Type 3 engines, 1 Type 4 engines, 30 Type 6 engines, 3 Type 1 helicopters, 1 Type 2 helicopter, 4 Type 3 helicopters, 12 water tenders and 6 bulldozers.

High winds Wednesday pushed the fire to the north, expanding it by 7,000 acres. Fire officials say it will move toward Charouleau Gap. On Mount Lemmon, the fire moved through Oracle Ridge and generated spot fires in Stratton Canyon. Overnight crews started controlled burns along the Catalina Highway corridor.

Air units, including fixed-wing airtankers, were up early Thursday morning, dropping water and fire retardant to slow the fire’s spread. Crews will monitor burning in the Ventana Canyon area and along Samaniego Ridge. Crews will tie together the two containment lines north of the fire perimeter to protect Oracle and San Manuel structures.

7:20 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire has grown to 31,208 acres Thursday and remains 40 percent contained.

JUNE 17, 2020

7:32 p.m.

The U.S. Forest Service says the Bighorn Fire grew about 6,400 acres alone Wednesday, with the total area burned at 23,892 acres. The wildfire is still 40 percent contained.

Firefighters' efforts to create a buffer zone around the Mt. Lemmon Sky Center observatory were successful and the structure was saved, the Forest Service said in its evening update. The fire turned north from that area and burned the La Canada Del Oro Canyon, which created the large pillars of smoke visible across the Tucson area Wednesday afternoon.

Fire crews are now working to create a fire line south of Oracle -- the same fire line constructed during the 2003 Aspen Fire, the Forest Service said. Firefighters are also working to secure the north part of the fire line before it creeps down the mountain.

This evening, Firefighters will conduct burnout operations north of the observatory to protect the community below.

6:14 p.m.

Trico Electric Cooperative says they shut off power to the Mt. Lemmon area as a precaution at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Trico says the shutdown may affect some areas outside of the evacuation zone.

DETAILS: Power on Mount Lemmon shut off

2:35 p.m.

2:30 p.m.

Fire officials say the fire has not impacted Summerhaven yet. The flames are mostly along the Samaniego Ridge and Loma Linda. Officials also confirmed that there have been no injuries as a result of battling the Bighorn Fire.

1:50 p.m.

Heavy smoke can be seen coming from the Mt. Lemmon area as the red flag warning across the Tucson area continues until 8 p.m.

1:10 p.m.

The American Red Cross with the Pima County Health Department are working together to support residents affected by the Bighorn Fire. In addition to helping people take refuge at centralized locations, they will accommodate those who want to evacuate but want to avoid congregating a shelter.

“We have heard from people who don’t have anywhere else to go saying that because they are at high risk for severe complications from COVID-19, they don’t want to evacuate and go to a shelter,” said Courtney Slanaker, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Southern Arizona, in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to avoid congregate sheltering. Your safety is our priority; getting you to a safe area, both away from the threat of fire and isolated from other people who you don’t live with.”

For more information, visit this site.

To learn about the Ready, Set, Go evacuation protocol, click here.

12:24 p.m.

Oro Valley residents from Catalina State Park south to Magee Road, as well as Catalina Foothills residents from First Avenue east to Alvernon way, have been downgraded from "set" to "ready" under evacuation protocol.

8 a.m.

Firefighters battling the blaze include 8 hotshot crews, 7 Type 2 hand crews, 27 Type 3 engines, 1 Type 4 engine, 26 Type 6 engines, 4 Type 1 helicopters, 1 Type 2 helicopter, 2 Type 3 helicopters, 11 water tenders and 6 bulldozers.

A Red Flag Warning is in place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday due to dry conditions and strong winds. Helicopters and air tankers will fly in the morning until high winds ground them.

On Tuesday, evening crews conducted burnout operations around Radio Ridge and the Mount Lemmon Sky Center. Crews are reinforcing the fire line around Summerhaven Wednesday.

The fire is established along Samaniego Ridge, and crews are monitoring activity around the communities of Saddlebrooke and East Golder Ranch. Firefighters are ready to confront the fire if it begins to move down from the ridge lines.

Evacuation Notices:

· Mt. Lemmon, Mt. Bigelow, and Lower Soldier HOA north of Organization Ridge Road are in “GO – Evacuate” status, including the community of Summerhaven.

· Lower Catalina Highway/Lower Mt. Lemmon communities from Organization Ridge Road to South Willow Canyon are in the "SET - Be Alert" stage. Residents are encouraged to voluntarily relocate outside the affected area.

· SET notices for portions of the Catalina Foothills, Golder Ranch and Oro Valley remain in place. Sign up to receive emergency alerts at myalerts.pima.gov. Visit pima.gov/bighorn for the most up-to-date information on evacuation notices, an interactive map, and county resources. You can also call the Pima County Sheriff’s Department at 520-351-FIRE (3473).

Closures: The Coronado National Forest closure order includes Sabino and Bear Canyons. Catalina State Park is closed. Large portions of the Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District near the fire are restricted. View the closure orders and maps at Inciweb. Catalina Highway is closed to the public at milepost zero. Only residents and business owners may pass. Oracle Control Road is closed

7:13 a.m.

According to the Pima County Sheriff's Department, six Summerhaven residents remain sheltered in place.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect Wednesday. Strong winds will limit aircraft options.

Crews held the fire line near Summerhaven, and placed 170 pumps around the village. The blaze is moving northward.

Firefighters credited Summerhaven residents for creating defensible space around their properties.

6:48 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire has grown to 17,492 acres and remains at 40 percent containment.

According to officials, 700 crewmembers are battling the blaze.

JUNE 16, 2020

9:40 p.m.

The Bighorn Fire is now just a half-mile away and is 2 to 3 days away from Summerhaven, fire officials say. They are confident in efforts to force the fire to skirt around the north side of Mount Lemmon.

Incident Commander John Pierson said "I feel very confident that we're going to be able to succeed in getting things around the communities. The operations folks have a good plan that's in place. We have the right people, the right assets up on the mountain to conduct that work. We'll see where we land."

8:00 p.m.

7:15 p.m.

According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire remains burning at 15,805 acres, and is now 40% contained. There are approximately 700 fire personnel working to contain the fire.

6:38 p.m.

A virtual meeting is expected to be held at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday by Southwest Area Incident Management Team 2 with information for members of Summerhaven and other Mount Lemmon communities.

5:46 p.m.

The U.S Postal Service has issued an emergency suspension for the Mount Lemmon Post Office effective immediately due to the Bighorn Fire.

3:10 p.m.

Lower Catalina Highway and the lower Mount Lemmon communities -- from Organization Ridge Road to South Willow Canyon -- are under the "set - be alert" pre-evacuation protocol.

Catalina Highway remains closed at milepost zero.

See the interactive evacuation map here.

2:40 p.m.

The American Red Cross opened an evacuation center at Sahuaro High School, 545 N. Camino Seco, due to the evacuation of Summerhaven. Evacuees can stay cool, get snacks and stay updated with information on the fire.

1:49 p.m.

Residents in the Mt. Lemmon/Mt. Bigelow areas, including Summerhaven are under evacuation.

8:10 a.m.
According to the National Foreset Service, 729 people are battling the fire. Three crewmembers have suffered minor heat-related illnesses.

Crew members include 7 hotshot crews, 8 Type 2 hand crews, 27 Type 3 engines, 1 Type 4 engine, 25 Type 6 engines, 4 Type 1 helicopters, 1 Type 2 helicopter, 2 Type 3 helicopters, 9 water tenders and 6 bulldozers.

Monday night, favorable weather allowed crews to conduct burnout operations on the northeast portion of the fire near the Trico powerline corridor.

The burnout, brought on by aerial ignition using helicopters, is meant to slow the upslope momentum of the fire as it emerges from Romero Pass.

Firefighters are trying to create defensible space around Summerhaven, using bulldozers and excavators to bolster fuel breaks. Crews are placing orange portable water tanks known as pumpkins around Summerhaven homes to feed sprinkler systems firehoses.

Firefighters have established fire lines south of Ventana Canyon that will protect structures. Crews will work along the perimeter of the fire Tuesday, and drivers are asked to make way for emergency vehicles.

Evacuation Notices:

Mt. Lemmon and Mt. Bigelow are in “SET – Be Alert” status north of Organization Ridge Road Area, including Summerhaven.

SET notices for portions of the Catalina Foothills, Golder Ranch and Oro Valley remain in place.
Sign up to receive emergency alerts at myalerts.pima.gov. Visit pima.gov/bighorn for the most up-to-date information on evacuation notices, an interactive map, and county resources. Residents may contact the Pima County Sheriff’s Department at 520-351-FIRE (3473) with evacuation questions.

The Coronado National Forest closure order includes Sabino and Bear Canyons. Catalina State Park is closed. Large portions of the Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District near the fire are restricted. View the closure orders and maps at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/6741/.

Catalina Highway is closed to the public. Only residents and business owners are allowed to drive to Mount Lemmon.

7:50 a.m.
The fire has grown to 15,805 acres and remains 30 percent contained.

7 a.m.

The blaze has grown to 14,686 acres and is 30 percent contained.

JUNE 15, 2020
10:08 p.m.

6:49 p.m.

According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire has burned 14,686 acres, and is now 30 percent contained. There are 729 fire personnel working to contain the fire.

11:22 a.m.

The U.S. Forest Service confirms the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is now closed due to the Bighorn Fire. It's the latest closure that leaves almost no recreational trails or areas for hikers in the Catalina Mountains.

DETAILS: Sabino Canyon Recreation Area closed due to Bighorn Fire

7:00 a.m.

Overnight, active fire in Romero and Cargodera Canyons burned together and continued to push to the north and east. With this spread to the higher elevations comes a transition in fuel type, with the fire moving from grasses and brush up to chaparral. Smoke from these heavier fuels will be very visible today.

Firefighters on Mt. Lemmon are building from the preparatory work done by the community together with the Forest Service, ensuring existing fire breaks are clear and that defensible space is maintained. Crews and equipment will be working north toward the town of Oracle, scouting for containment features and identifying values at risk.

Fire in Ventana Canyon continued to be active and is expected to slowly back down the canyon where crews are confident the existing fire line will hold. Firefighters are building line extending east from the southern edge of the fire to protect communities, should the fire move in that direction where there is unburned fuel.

Evacuation notices remain in place as follows:

  • Mt. Lemmon and Mt. Bigelow are in “SET – Be Alert” status north of Organization Ridge Road Area, including Summerhaven.
  • SET notices for portions of the Catalina Foothills, Golder Ranch and Oro Valley remain in place.

Residents are urged to sign up to receive emergency alerts at myalerts.pima.gov.

Closures remain in effect. Catalina State Park is closed. Large portions of the Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District near the fire are restricted. Catalina Highway is closed to the public at milepost zero. Only residents and business owners may pass.

JUNE 14, 2020

1:00 p.m.

10:51 a.m.

8:46 a.m.

According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire burning in the Catalina Mountains increased to 12,345 acres Sunday, and is 11 percent contained. There are now 560 fire personnel working the wildfire.

"The fire will be most active in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness around Romero Canyon and Cathedral Rock, with dark smoke visible from the Tucson metropolitan area," the Forest Service wrote in a statement.

JUNE 13, 2020

7 p.m.

A small amount of progress for crews battling the Bighorn Fire. The wildfire is now 11 percent contained. So far, 11,500 acres have burned. People near East Golder Ranch Drive and East Rollins Road are still being told to evacuate.

2:45 p.m.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier is expected to give an update regarding the Bighorn Fire Saturday.

8:51 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire burning in the Catalina Mountains has increased to 10,367 acres Saturday morning, according to the Forest Service. Three fire personnel sustained minor heat related illnesses. Through the night, crews used coolers temperatures to their advantage to conduct a burnout operation near East Golder Ranch.

JUNE 12, 2020

8:55 p.m.

According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the Bighorn Fire burning in the Catalina Mountains has increased to 8,950 acres Friday night. High temperatures have fueled increased fire activity north towards Golder Ranch. There are now 550 fire personnel working the fire.

8:14 p.m.

The Pima County Office of Emergency Management and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department issued an evacuation order Friday night for some residents living in the town of Catalina.

5:15 p.m.

A firefighter at Catalina State Park was treated for heat exhaustion afternoon.

The call sent a flurry of fire trucks and ambulances into the park entrance. An Oro Valley Police spokesperson said only one firefighter was treated but is expected to be OK. Additional ambulances were called to the scene to be on standby, if needed.

4:49 p.m.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department is downgrading its evacuation order for an area of the Catalina Foothills.

The area previously under its "GO" protocol in the "READY, SET, GO" evacuation plan is now being downgraded to, "SET."

Under the "GO" plan, residents in that area were asked to immediately evacuate. The "SET" protocol is asking residents to be wary of a potential evacuation, and to be aware of the fire situation around their homes.

Areas in the Catalina Foothills and Oro Valley under the "SET" phase will remain in place, PCSD added.

FULL MAP OF EVACUATION ZONES:

4:36 p.m.

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group, a federal agency that oversees wildfire efforts, now says they estimate the fire to be in containment by June 25.

The figure is listed on the Bighorn Fire's Inciweb page, which shows a map of the fire and updates regular with the latest information about it. Click Here to see the Bighorn Fire on Inciweb.

The Inciweb page, which is updated with information from several different wildfire management agencies, also lists weather in the next several days as one of the challenges in fighting the fire.

3:27 p.m.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department is also experiencing some congestion issues on the other side of the mountains. They're asking anyone who doesn't live or conduct business in the Catalina Foothills to avoid the area, as traffic problems are interfering with firefighting and safety efforts.

2:44 p.m.

The fire has moved toward Catalina State Park as winds have shifted through the afternoon. The Oro Valley Police are asking anyone watching the fire not to stop along Oracle, for safety reasons.

11:50 a.m.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department says all evacuation notices under the "READY, SET, GO" protocol remain in effect Friday morning.

So far, one portion of the Catalina Foothills remains in the "GO" stage, while several portions of the Catalina Foothills as far east as Sabino Canyon remain in the "SET" stage. Part of Oro Valley is under the "SET" stage as well.]

FULL MAP OF EVACUATION ZONES:

10 a.m.
The National Forest Service released this update:

6:52 a.m.

The Bighorn Fire burning in the Catalina Mountains has increased to 7,092 acres Friday morning.

According to the Coronado National Forest, the fire remains at 10 percent containment.

As of Thursday, 419 crew members were assigned, with 7 hotshot crews.

Residents in the area have been placed on evacuation alerts.

Residents can sign up for the Pima County Emergency Alerts System for the latest info.