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UPDATES: Ventana Fire is 80% contained

Area still sits at 133 acres
Ventana Fire
Posted at 3:53 AM, Jun 20, 2023

UPDATE 5:18 PM June 22

The Ventana Fire remains at 133 acres and containment has increased to 80%.

UPDATE 9:39 AM, June 22

The Ventana Fire remains at 133 acres and 50% containment.

All lines held through the night, and growth is not anticipated at this time, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Minimal smoke is anticipated.

Updated on June 21 at 5 p.m.
According to the Coronado National Forest, a new infrared view of the Ventana Fire shows its actual size to be 133 acres. Officials say 50% has been contained.

"Right now there are currently about 122 people assigned to this fire and those are going to be everybody from crews, engines, repellers, to the people that are considered overhead," Starr Farrell, public affairs officer for the Coronado National Forest, tells KGUN 9.

Pima County Sheriff's Department area closures lifting at 8 p.m.

UPDATE 8:27 AM
The Ventana Fire remains at 55 acres and 25% containment as all lines were held through the night, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Fire crews will be on a mapping mission today, focusing their attention on securing the perimeter. Additional crews will be dropped off via helicopter at the top of the mountain, the Forest Service said via Facebook.

No additional retardant drops are planned. Three helicopters will continue to use Rose Canyon Lake and a 3,000-gallon plastic pool called the pumpkin located near the Tucson Southern Arizona Rescue Association, the Forest Service said.

An infrared flight will take place this morning, with the goal of finding isolated and centralized heat sources to aid firefighters.

The Finger Rock trailhead, Pima Canyon trailhead, Ventana Canyon trailhead, Rose Canyon Lake and the overflow parking at Sabino Canyon remain closed.

UPDATE 6:07 PM

The Ventana Fire has expanded to 55 acres and 25% contained.

UPDATE 3:20 PM

The Ventana Fire stands at approximately 52 acres, so spread has been minimal, the U.S. Forest Service told KGUN.

They are still at 0% containment, but the air support has boxed in the fire on all sides with retardant, the Forest Service said. Helicopters are now dropping water on the zone within those boundaries.

Winds continue to be a challenge, but no structures or people are under threat at this time, the Forest Service said.

RELATED: Ventana Fire burns in Catalinas

UPDATE 12:47 PM

An update from Coronado National Forest says winds are continuing to the northeast. Officials say they anticipate afternoon winds to pose a challenge to crews at the fire lines.

As of the noon hour, the fire remains at about 50 acres, and helicopters and planes are continuing to work the fire from the air.

Coronado National Forest also issued a reminder to the public: Do not fly drones near an active wildfire, as firefighting craft require clear airspace to operate.

UPDATE: 12:00 PM

An updated list of aircraft responding to the fire includes, three helicopters, one VLAT (very large airtanker), two LATs (large airtankers) and four SEATs (single engine airtankers).

Firefighters are securing the eastern flank where retardant has been dropped. They are pushing forward to the western flank.

Airtankers are using Fort Huachuca, Marana Regional Airport and Safford Regional Airport as refill sites.

UPDATE: 8:30 AM

The wildfire in the Catalina Mountains, now called the Ventana Fire, is at 50 acres with 0% containment, according to the Coronado National Forest Facebook page. It started at approximately 3:36 a.m. and is located approximately two miles north of the Craycroft and Placita Alta Reposa area.

The fire is under investigation, but lightning was in the area last night.

Fire crews, smoke jumpers, air tankers are all on scene with additional resources en route.

Catalina Highway on the way to Mount Lemmon remains open.

Finger Rock trail head, Ventana Canyon trail head, Pima Canyon trail head, Rose Canyon Lake and the Sabino Canyon overflow parking are all closed at this time, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

No evacuations are expected at this time, PCSD said.

UPDATE 4:30 AM
The Pima County Sheriff's Department has provided an update on the fire in the Catalina Mountains.

They say it is located two miles north of the Craycroft and Placita Alta Reposa area.

The Finger Rock and Ventana Canyon trail heads are closed at this time.

No evacuations are expected.

Southern Arizonans waking up Tuesday may notice a crescent-shaped fire burning along the Catalina Mountains.

KGUN9 has received pictures and seen the fire grow since 3 A.M. Jun. 20. The Good Morning Tucson team has reached out to the Coronado National Forest and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management to confirm the fire's size and start-time.

We will update this article and provide real-time updates on air. Three years ago this month, the Bighorn Fire was sparked by a lightning strike. That blaze grew to 119,000 acres and took over six weeks to contain.