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.
The Southwest Area Incident Management Team 4, led by Carl Schwope, assumed command of the Bighorn Fire on Sunday, July 5, 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. Due to the fire, Catalina State Park and several popular trails in the area are closed including Romero Canyon, Pima Canyon, Finger Rock, Pontatoc, Pontatoc Ridge and Linda Vista. The vegetation in the area consists of tall grass, brush, dormant brush and hardwood slash. Improving weather conditions and increased moisture has greatly slowed fire activity, but isolated areas of heat and smoke can still found within the fire perimeter.
Smoke impacts to surrounding communities are being carefully monitored.
Firefighters continue to monitor and patrol firelines. Incident-managed infrared drones are being used to gather important data to aid firefighters. At this point in the incident, efforts are shifting to repairing damage and disturbance caused by fire suppression activities and stabilizing firelines in order to reduce erosion. Firefighter are retrieving, cleaning and repairing firefighting equipment and preparing it for use on future fires. Firefighters are still prepared to respond to any new fires that may occur.
Wildfires are a No Drone Zone for private drones. A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire area. Every time a private drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of this area. More info visit Know Before You Fly, http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.
Communities can expect to see crews and apparatus working in an around subdivisions in the Catalina Foothills. Members of the public are advised to drive with caution and leave roadways clear for emergency vehicles. Residents are urged to sign up to receive emergency alerts for Pima, Pinal and Chochise Counties.
To facilitate firefighting efforts and protect the safety of the public, the Coronado National Forest Santa Catalina Ranger District expanded the forest closure order. The restricted area is bounded along the Forest boundary south and east to the northeast corner of the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, northeast along the Forest boundary to its northeastern terminus at Sabino Creek, Sabino Creek north to the Arizona Trail, the Arizona Trail northwest to the junction with Romer Trail, and the Romero Trail northwest to Catalina State Park. View the updated closure order and map at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/6741/.
Fire Information Phone Line: (520) 329-7439, 8AM-8PM
Media Phone Line: (520) 329-7640, 8AM-8PM
Smoke Outlook: https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/EasternArizona