TUCSON, Ariz. — The Bighorn Fire burned through thousands of acres of land and pushed dangerously close to structures.
“We stayed here and fought as long as we could, and I think what we did helped save our station,” said Mt. Lemmon Fire Department Captain Dan Leade.
Officials briefed the media and gave us our first look at the burn scar area Monday. In many spots, the wildfire charred the ground and browned the trees.
“That’s part of that lower to moderate intensity burns. Where you don’t see the full running crown fire that nukes everything. They get some surface burning. If the trees survive or not remains to be seen.”
It is worth pointing out there is still a lot of green even around the burn scar. But despite the tranquil scene, there are new dangers left behind.
“Monsoon is a double-edged sword, with the rain brings the cooling and stopping of the fire, but that also brings unintended hazards people may not associate with fires themselves.”
Less vegetation and dead trees mean there is greater potential for flash flooding and mudslides and falling trees can kill or cause power outages. These concerns will last through monsoon and vary depending on elevation.
“The flash flooding will probably be lower but the tree falls, trees on power lines that will directly impact our community.”
Officials say much of the forest land will be closed until November, but they will be evaluating hazards along Catalina Highway to get that road open sooner.
"We love the tourism, the benefit it has to the community, the businesses, really when you have a retreat in the desert like this it is something everyone should get to enjoy as soon as it is safe.”