KGUN 9NewsWildfire Watch


Highway to Mount Lemmon reopens in wake of Molino 2 Wildfire

Coronado National Forest crews report 100% containment as of 10:53 a.m. Tuesday
Mt Lemmon fire
Posted at 4:35 PM, Apr 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-01 13:23:08-04

UPDATE (6:08 PM Tuesday, May 2)
Coronado National Forest is searching for a suspect they believe is involved with starting the Molino 2 Fire.

Forest Service Fire Investigators looking for suspect connected to the Molino fire

UPDATE (1:15 PM Tuesday, May 2)

As of Tuesday Morning, crews report 100% containment of the Molino 2 fire. Mop-up procedures will continue throughout the day. The Catalina Highway will remain open.

The total acreage of the fire is 115 acres, according to the Santa Catalina Ranger District.

UPDATE (9:55 PM)

The Coronado National Forest reports the Molino 2 Wildfire is now 90% contained.

Catalina Highway opened around 5 p.m.

UPDATE (1:40 PM)
Pima County Sheriff's Department says as of 1 p.m., traffic is once again open to the public in both directions.

Drivers should watch for crews continuing to work between mile posts 4 and 5. There is no stopping allowed in that area.

“Check your campfires, if you can’t put your hand in the campfire when you leave, it is not out. That can smolder for days it can cause fires. The ambers in an open BBQ can fly and catch pine needles on fire," said the Business Manager for the Mt. Lemmon Coffee Bean.

Leanne Mack wants to remind the community to be fire-wise.

“Respect the forest, respect your surroundings," said Mack.

UPDATE (10:15 AM)
Coronado National Forest is reporting the Molino 2 Wildfire is now 70% contained.

A red flag warning will remain in effect until 11 a.m. Crews plan to continue working the fire line on both sides of the burn area, and say if necessary, can call on air support.

According to Coronado National Forest, cooler overnight temperatures and higher relative humidity were helpful to crews who worked through the night.

UPDATE (6:15 AM)
Catalina Highway is only open for residents, business owners and construction employees. Pima County Sheriff's Department is redirecting traffic back down the mountain. Those at the top of Mount Lemmon are able to come down.

The Road Closure Hotline is (520) 547-7510

UPDATE (10:25 PM)

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service- Coronado National Forest said the Molino Basin, Gordon Hirabayashi, and General Hitchcock Campgrounds are being evacuated. As for road closures, they said the Catalina Highway is closed to people who don’t live on Mount Lemmon.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said Rose Canyon Lake was cleared out so aircraft could use the water there.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service- Coronado National Forest said the wildfire started in the bowl of the Molino Basin near a popular shooting area. As for how many acres the fire is affecting, they said at least eighty.

They said the fire was moving its way up both sides of the ridgline both north and south. They said at one point it was at the ridgeline above the Molino Basin Campground.

They said airplanes used retardant around the forward edge of the fire and said crews on the ground were also working to put it out.

However, they said the rough landscape of the mountain is making it hard. They said that’s why both local and state crews are helping and said they brought three engines, two helicopters, and one very large air tanker.

Crews will be on the mountain overnight and there will be more crews and resources getting there in the morning.

UPDATE (7:00PM): Mt. Lemmon Highway is closed due to the Molino 2 Fire that started Sunday afternoon, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

The U.S. Forest Service reports the fire has burned 150 to 200 acres.

According to the USFS, the wildfire began near a popular shooting area and is moving up the north and south sides of the ridgeline, above the Molino Basin Campground, as of 7 p.m Sunday.

Three engines, two helicopters and a VLAT (very large air tanker) are responding.

PCSD is asking people to avoid the area so crews have access to the fire.

Catalina Highway is closed to all non-residents. The Road Closure Hotline is (520) 547-7510