KGUN 9NewsWildfire Watch


Onlookers hinder firefighting efforts

Posted at 9:31 AM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-21 12:59:38-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Bighorn Fire spreads to more than 42,000 acres and is only 21% contained.

Fire officials are now saying weather and topography aren’t the only challenges they are dealing with.

Adam Jarrold, the public information officer for the Bighorn fire, says onlookers seem to be hindering containment efforts as well.

“It’s difficult for our firefighters to get in where they need to be. We understand that it’s something people want to see, but when we get congestion in the areas it’s just delaying them getting to their tasks,” he told KGUN9.

This doesn’t just go for fire efforts on the ground.

“If people gather around the dip-sights by the large helicopters gathering water, it could become a safety issue and pilots might abort that mission if they feel it’s unsafe for that helicopter to be that close to people,” he added.

As night approaches, weather and fire behavior become the big challenge.

“We get what we call our downslope winds. The winds kind of come off into the mountain down into town. So that’s going to draw the fire down into the valley like Ventana Canyon,” said Jarrold with the Golder Ranch Fire Department.

This will also result in more smoke in the Tucson area, Oro Valley area, and the Catalina area in the mornings.

As far as structure damage goes:

“We still haven’t gotten any reports of any structures lost. So the firefighters up at Mt. Lemmon, Ventana Canyon, Pima Canyon have worked very hard to keep this fire as far away from structures as they can,” said Jarrold.

Fire officials are also asking if you have a drone, that you keep it grounded--because if you fly, they can’t.