TUCSON, Ariz. — It has been 17 days since lightning sparked the Catalina Mountains starting there Bighorn Fire, where the fire continues to spread. Governor Ducey made his way to Catalina State Park Monday to learn about the operation where almost half of Arizona's active wildfire fighting efforts are focused.
“Every wildfire season in Arizona is serious and this year is no different. 2020 has brought heightened wildfire activity, as well as the added challenge of keeping crews and first responders healthy, as we continue to work to contain the spread of COVID-19,” explained Governor Doug Ducey.
KGUN9 learned Sunday, firefighters are following CDC guidelines by wearing masks and social distancing. Currently, more than 900 firefighters are working around the clock to stop the fire.
Governor Ducey said four of the crews are inmates who have picked up the skills needed to fight the wildfire while in prison.
“These fully trained and talented type two crews are a vital resource to Arizona other robots example of how we're collaborating across state agencies to protect lives pets and property,” said Governor Ducey.
To date, the Bighorn Fire has not damaged any property, but hundreds of homes are in evacuation zones.
Technology is one way that crews have been able to protect communities, according to a Bighorn Fire Incident Coordinator.
Crews have been using a drone to see where the fire is. They are using those visuals to plan as the situation changes.
“In terms of the briefing that I’ve seen and in terms of numerous fires I’ve seen over the 6 years as governor. The use of technology in terms of actually being able to fly me around the site, show me where the fire started and how it spread. The decisions that have been made so that we’re protecting our property people, property, and pets has been very illuminating,” added Governor Ducey.
While the Bighorn Fire wasn't human-caused, Governor Ducey warns Arizonans not to light campfires where they aren't allowed and to avoid dragging chains to prevent more wildfires from sparking.