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Wind shows more visible dark smoke from trees and brush burning in the Bighorn Fire

Doesn't mean fire is stronger and growing
Bighorn Fire
Posted at 6:35 AM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 09:51:09-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — In the last couple weeks, the wind has shifted the Bighorn Fire all over the Catalina Mountains, causing more smoke.

Since day one, the wind has been active, resulting in the fire now being pushed south, more visible to populated areas.

The fire is at almost 60,000 acres, but more smoke doesn't mean more strength or growth in the fire.

Eagle River Fire Protection District Community Risk Manager Tracy LeClair said the black, darker smoke has to do with the amount of fuel, like brush, trees and grass, that is burning.

"As the fire moves through, especially with high winds, it burns in a very patchy pattern and it can skip over areas," LeClair said. "Then, when the wind shifts and comes back it may burn up areas it skipped the first time through."

She said in the morning hours, an inversion pushes the smoke down onto the desert floor and then lifts back up during the day. This could cause some safety concerns because she said if you can smell the smoke, you're breathing it in.

She recommends everyone, especially those with underlying health conditions, to be cautions about going out in areas with a lot of smoke.