Bighorn Fire 75 percent contained, minimal growth expected

click to enlarge Bighorn Fire 75 percent contained, minimal growth expected
Photo by National Forest Service

After more than a month of burning, fire crews have mostly contained the Bighorn Fire, which has spread across 119,000 acres of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

"The fire is pretty much out, we only have one area that the fire is still active in. It's right here in Willow Canyon and it's right by these two switchbacks in the Catalina Highway going up the mountain," said operations section chief Buck Wickham in a July 6 update. "There's nothing really large, however it is a concern because it's right on the highway.”

The fire's growth has slowed considerably in the past few days, coinciding with scattered rainstorms. Whereas in mid-June the Bighorn Fire grew more than 5,000 acres every day, the fire has grown less than 500 acres per day since the beginning of July.

As of now, the only remaining evacuation orders are for Mount Lemmon communities such as Summerhaven. Previously evacuated areas in the Catalina Foothills, Oracle and Redington are all on a "Ready" order, the lowest level of Pima County's "Ready, Set, Go" evacuation system.

With the reduced burning comes a lowered smoke impact; the Forest Service issued their final Smoke Outlook update for the Bighorn Fire on July 6, indicating there will be light smoke in the Sabino Canyon and Tanque Verde areas, otherwise Tucson can expect generally good air quality.

Click here to view a burn progression map.