Firefighters on Burro Fire make stand at Redington Pass Road

On the map of the Burro Fire, above, the red and brown squares on the north and southeast sides indicate new growth Tuesday and Tuesday night. The red line was the perimeter early Tuesday morning. The white line shows where it was early Monday morning.

(Originally published at 10:10 a.m. MDT July 5, 2017)

Firefighters battling the Burro Fire northeast of Tucson, Arizona were also fighting extreme heat again Tuesday. On the southeast side of the fire they successfully kept the fire north of Redington Pass Road and protected ranch buildings in the area.

On the northeast side steep, rugged terrain and a lack of roads means directly confronting the fire will be very difficult, at best. For now they will rely mainly on air resources to slow the fire’s progress in this area. Contingency plans are in place, should fire activity become a threat to infrastructure or other resources.

The Incident Management Team said Wednesday morning the fire had been mapped at 23,238 acres, growth of more than 4,000 acres from the day before.

Resources assigned to the fire include 594 total personal, 14 hand crews, 33 engines, 19 water tenders and 7 helicopters. The number of air tankers varies throughout the day.

Evacuations are still in effect along the Catalina Highway from Mile Marker 0, north including Summerhaven.

The weather forecast for Wednesday at the 4,000-foot level on the Redington Pass Road where firefighters are presently working predicts 102 degrees, 12 percent relative humidity, and northwest winds at 12 mph gusting to 17.

Check out this 57-second video of Fire Behavior Analyst Stewart Turner describing the expected fire activity for Wednesday.

In the video below, I don’t know about a “storm”, but the Burro Fire, like many rapidly spreading intense fires, did create a pyrocumulus cloud (in the left part of the image).

Burro Fire near Tucson grows to over 19,000 acres

Above: Map of the perimeter of the Burro Fire. The red line was current at 11 pm MDT July 3, 2017. The white line was from 26 hours earlier.

(Originally published at 8:15 a.m. MDT July 4, 2017)
(Updated at 10:06 a.m. MDT July 4, 2017)

The Burro Fire on Monday expanded by another 7,770 acres to bring the total area burned up to 19,057 acres. It grew on the north side by about 1.5 miles and by 2. 5 miles on the south, but on the west side it is not much closer to the Catalina (Mt. Lemmon) Highway than it was Monday morning and is still more than a mile away. It is still about four miles from the northeastern outskirts of Tucson.

Firefighters are working on indirect firelines and protecting structures along the Catalina (Mt. Lemmon) Highway on the west side. On the south firefighters continued preparations along Redington Pass Road in case they need to protect or fire out from the road. Natural barriers are also being used to aid in suppression efforts.

map Burro Fire Tucson Arizona
A 3-D map of the perimeter of the Burro Fire looking southwest. The red line was current at 11pm MDT July 3, 2017. The white line was from 26 hours earlier.

On the lower slopes the fire is burning in tall grass and brush, with Ponderosa Pine and mixed conifer at the higher elevations. The fire covers an area ranging from 3,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level.

Airtankers and helicopters were used Monday to help delay the fire’s spread. With the high temperatures expected on Tuesday, the use of aircraft may be limited if it becomes too hot to fly as the density altitude becomes a problem.

The temperatures Tuesday will vary widely with the elevation. At 4,000′ the temperature should reach 100 degrees in mid-afternoon with 14 percent relative humidity and 10 mph winds out of the northwest gusting to 17. Higher up the mountain at 7,600′ the high will be 81, with 22 percent relative humidity and northwest winds at 10 with gusts to 15. Similar conditions are in the forecast for the rest of this week.

There is a chance of isolated thunderstorms Tuesday which could bring troublesome strong, erratic winds.

map Burro Fire Tucson Arizona
Map of the perimeter of the Burro Fire. The red line was current at 11pm MDT July 3, 2017. The white line was from 26 hours earlier.

An evacuation order is in effect for all residents along the Catalina (Mt. Lemmon) Highway from Mile Marker 0, to Summer Haven. The highway is closed. No public, including residents, will be allowed access into the area. The Redington Pass Road is closed between Mile Marker 2 and 14.

Three large wildfires in Southeast Arizona continue to spread

Above: Map showing three large wildfires in Southeast Arizona, July 2, 2017:  Burro, Frye, and Hilltop fires.

(Originally published at 9:38 a.m. MDT July 3, 2017)

Much of the wildfire activity in the United States over the last several weeks has occurred in Arizona. Currently there are three large fires in the southeast part of the state:

Frye Fire — This 45,000-acre fire is burning on the steep slopes of Mt. Graham in the Pinaleno Mountain Range in a wilderness area southwest of Safford. It is a limited suppression incident.

Burro Fire –Six miles northeast of the outskirts of Tucson. Evacuations are occurring. We have more information about this 14,000-acre fire here.

Hilltop Fire — This 8,600-acre fire 27 miles northeast of Globe has been burning since June 25. It is on the San Carlos Apache Reservation and is threatening timber, cultural resources, recreation areas, and wildlife habitat.

Burro fire near Tucson closes road to Mt. Lemmon

Above: 3-D map of the Burro Fire showing the perimeter at 8:30 p.m. MDT July 2, 2017. Looking southwest.

(Originally published at 8:20 a.m. MDT July 3, 2017.)

The Burro Fire is causing evacuations near Tucson, Arizona in the Mt. Lemmon area. The fire was reported June 30 on the southeast side of Mt. Lemmon in the foothills of Redington Pass and as of 8:30 p.m. MDT on Sunday had spread for six miles to within a mile of the Mt. Lemmon Highway. At that time it had burned about 11,300 acres according to an overnight mapping flight, which is an increase of over 6,000 acres from the last estimate. Monday morning the Incident Management Team estimated it had grown to about 14,000 acres.

The Burro Fire is 6 miles northeast of the outskirts of Tucson and 20 miles east of Interstate 10.

Burro Fire Mt Lemmon Tucson Arizona June 2, 2017
Burro Fire, July 2, 2017. Inciweb photo.

The Pima County Office of Emergency Management’s notices on their Facebook page are a little vague about what areas are being evacuated and when, but a news release from the Incident Management team said Summerhaven is being evacuated as well as the Mt. Lemmon Highway from Mile Marker 0 up to Palisades Road. Other locations are on a pre-evacuation notice. Residents can call 928-351-7537 for more information.

Map Burro Fire
Map of the Burro Fire, showing the perimeter at 8:30 p.m. MDT July 2, 2017.