On June 5, 2020 at 10:22PM a lightning strike started the Bighorn Fire in the Catalina Mountains northwest of Tucson, Arizona on the Coronado National Forest. Dry, windy conditions pushed the fire closer to communities and forced evacuations. Type 4 Incident Commander Corey Robinson assumed command of the Bighorn Fire on Monday, July 13, 2020 at 6 a.m. The fire is in steep and rugged terrain in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness and extends east to Redington Road. The fire remains approximately ½ mile north of Catalina Foothills, 3 miles south of Oracle and 3 miles east of Saddlebrooke. The vegetation in the area consists of tall grass, brush, dormant brush and hardwood slash.
The Bighorn Fire is a 100% contained as of July 23, 2020. The fire burned 119,978 acres to include iconic areas near Tucson like Mt. Lemmon and upper Sabino Canyon watershed. While the fire is a 100% contained, residual heat within the containment line may be visible for some time. A closure order remains in effect for public safety as there are hazards in the burn scar and the Bighorn Fire increased the possibility of flooding downstream and of sediment and debris runoff.
Post-fire events can result in tragic losses even years after the fire occurred. It takes time for vegetation and habitats to recover from fire events like the Bighorn Fire. We all need to remain vigilant. Federal and local agencies are taking steps to reduce the risks to life and safety downstream from the burned area. However, we also encourage residents in the area to develop individual plans to protect themselves and their property, and to remain aware of flashflood warnings issues by Pima, Pinal and Cochise Counties.