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Mt. Lemmon General store to re-open for residents

Owner credits firefighters with saving Summerhaven
Posted at 10:28 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 01:28:01-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Bighorn fire is now up to 78% contained with the area burned holding steady at just over 119,000 acres.

Mt. Lemmon residents and business owners were allowed to return home after three weeks of being evacuated. That includes the owner of the Mt. Lemmon General Store.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Mt. Lemmon general store shuts down for evacuation

"it's just a little close for comfort," said Grey Carpenter just after he left Mt. Lemmon for the last time on June 16th.

Carpenter credits Mt. Lemmon firefighters and wildland crews with saving Summerhaven from a fiery fate.

"it's just fantastic how they handled it, and how well it turned out," Carpenter said.

Carpenter points to fire management's decision to circle crews around the top of Mt Lemmon.

"They call it the green donut hole," Carpenter said. "It runs all along the top of the mountain here over to the green mountain area, willow canyon area. There's a little bit of burning on both sides, but for the most part it's untouched."

And where the Bighorn did burn, the mountain is already showing signs of new growth.

"For the most part the mountain is looking pretty good, considering everything it's been through," Carpenter said.

To say thank you to the firefighter the Mt. Lemmon General Store will sell specially designed Bighorn Fire t-shirts. All proceeds will go straight to the Mt. Lemmon Fire Department.

Carpenter said his store lost a lot of inventory when they were without power, but he plans to be open for residents this weekend.

He and his wife will be ready to welcome visitors once restrictions are lifted.

"All the fudge ingredients are safe so we're in good shape," Carpenter said. "Fudge will be ready, we can't wait."

Wednesday night part-time residents of Mt. Lemmon were also allowed to return home.